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A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

SF bay area
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A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

I am in charge of planning an 8-hour shore excursion in Taormina for a group of 11 members of a California club, Unione Siciliana (ages 60-80, so long uphill treks are not possible!) We will have a minibus and a licensed guide. I would really appreciate any suggestions for improving the experience and/or the itinerary for the day.

So far, I have planned: 9:30 a.m. pickup at the dock, Giardini Naxos. Panoramic drive around Taormina for orientation. Visit to Greek Theater. Liesurely Walk along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile, with a little free time for shopping. Pick-up and drive to Azienda Liperus for lunch. Then to Castelmola for the view and walk-around, maybe a coffee and pastry at Ciccino's. Drive back to Taormina, where those who wish to can take the funivia down the hill. Back to the dock by 5 p.m.

Comments? Suggestions? Grazie mille!

Manchester, UK
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1. Re: A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

Hey motherhen2,

it sounds like a great little plan and I wouldn't change anything. Everything has been arranged with a good balance (history, locals, food, views and relax) and with enough time to enjoy.

Complimenti! ;-)

Here & There
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2. Re: A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

Hi motherhen2,

Which company/guide will run your excursion?

Since Taormina’s historic centre is pedestrian only, a panoramic drive around Taormina in essence amounts to very little.

The Teatro Greco is Taormina’s main attraction and a walk along Corso Umberti I to Piazza 9 Aprile with its lovely views would be perfect. You will pass several of Taormina’s historic churches along the way.

This Taormina Walking Tour should give you an idea of what to see.

Planetware:

planetware.com/do-it-yourself-tour/taormina-…

Taormina Map:

planetware.com/map/taormina-map-i-taor.htm

Taormina Attractions:

frommers.com/destinations/…0137010029.html

Though the up and coming Murgo wines from Tenuta Michele are quite intriguing, logistically, Azienda Liperus in Piedimonte Etneo is the better choice for you. Liperus serves a copious lunch – cucina tipica siciliana with organic produce and vino locale Liperus bianco e rosso.

Azienda Agrituristica Liperus:

http://www.liperus.it/

www.fungaiolisiciliani.it/web/liperus.htm

Perched high above Taormina with unsurpassed views of Taormina, the sea and Mount Etna, Castelmola is delightful and a perfect town for an after lunch walk, but Ciccino’s is not the place for coffee and pastry.

Ciccino’s:

www.flickr.com/photos/kiarablog/2476455413/

Instead, you could have a great opportunity to experience one of the world’s most historic hotels – the Bar at the Palazzo San Domenico. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to see one of the world’s premier hotels. This former monastery dates back to 1430 and has beautiful gardens and views.

Palazzo San Domenico:

frommers.com/destinations/…N28208.html

thi.it/hotels/san-domenico-palace-hotel/hote…

frommers.com/destinations/…H33969.html

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187892-d195170…

Many of these same suggestions were made to jdmckay back in June.

Taormina Weather:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187892-i344-k2021…

jdmckay has since returned, so you may consider sending a PM.

www.tripadvisor.com/members-forums/jdmckay

Experience the funivia down to Mazzara and get a “feel” for Taormina Mare.

Driving the coast in Giardini doesn’t really offer much to see and do. Giardini is a beach resort and you won’t be going to the beach.

There are historical ruins in Giardini, but you will be already touring the Teatro Greco in Taormina.

frommers.com/destinations/…3214010029.html

Isola Bella is an islet linked to the main shore by a narrow strip of land. It’s possible to walk this narrow path from the mainland to the island. The island also has a small, rocky beach. Private property until 1990, it was purchased by Sicily and became a nature reserve administered by the Italian World Wildlife Fund.

Taormina and Isola Bella are also UNESCO sites.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1164/

Isola Bella:

www.gate2taormina.com/fr_taoIBella_en.htm

Photo of Isola Bella:

trekearth.com/gallery/…photo637255.htm

There are caves and grottoes, including the Grotta Azzurra (the blue grotto). Skip Giardini and arrange with a local to visit the caves by boat.

Il Barcaiolo, Mazzaro:

…altervista.org/index_file/Page1576.htm

Quite a memorable day!

Vagabonda

3. Re: A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

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Here & There
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4. Re: A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

Grazie mille motherhen2 for your kind words – much appreciated!

All of Ciccino’s tables are outside and the music is at night. Many trattorias in Castelmola are on Via Pio IX heading to the Piazza Duomo and they don’t offer views, but you might really enjoy Gallo Cedrone – family owned, warm and friendly; very good pizza; and a terrace with views of Etna.

GALLO CEDRONE

Via A. De Gasperi, 34

98030 Castelmola

Phone: (+39) 0942 632045

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/restaurants/review.asp?n=gallo+cedrone&s=castelmola

You seem to have your heart set on Castelmola. The Bar at the Palazzo San Domenico would have been a "relatively" inexpensive way to visit a very lovely historic hotel, but you may actually be too early for bar service anyway.

Thank you for the link to Endless Beginnings - since I plan so many itineraries, it’s always interesting to see sites like theirs.

If you anticipate fatigue by the end of the day, don’t walk Isola Bella, but arrange for a short boat ride with a local – it would be a fantastic and restful way (sitting in a boat) to end the day, and the caves and grottoes are stunning. The Grotta Azzurra would be reminiscent of Capri’s Blue Grotto without the crass tourism.

The minibus could collect you right in Mazzara for your return to the ship.

Best Wishes!

Vagabonda

Nottingham, United...
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5. Re: A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

My only comment would be that your group should be prepared for quite a few steep steps at the Greek Theatre and depending on the time of year it can get very hot there. (Stalls outside selling water / gelato etc. though).

6. Re: A perfect day in (and around) Taormina?

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