The ferry from Calabria started us in Messina where we walked around a little. It is by far the biggest city we visited the entire vacation. We ate aranchini and pidoni at La Foccacheria. Also picked up some Cannoli. Cannoli are Sicillian deserts (they are actually not that common in the rest of Italy) and these were the best I’ve ever had. The most notable thing there was a glockenspiel-style clock featuring a chicken.
That night (June 10th) we stayed in Taormina, my favorite place from this trip. I wish we had spent more time here. That first night, we walked up to the old center, which was up on a hill. It was already kinda late, but the city was pretty happening. It was full of high-end stores and well-dressed travelers. We got a feel for the place then grabbed a bench in a piazza between the Duomo (Chiesa di San Giuseppe in Piazza IX Aprile) and the cliff edge of the town looking down at the sea. That’s where we ate our cannoli from Messina.
The next morning we started off with the beach. It’s not fair that such a beautiful city should also have such a beautiful beach. The beach we went to was “Isola Bella” or Beautiful Island. It was an “island” attached to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. There was an old fort that is no longer used on the island build by the Normans. There were steps carved into the stone and a man-made cave that was used as a boat-dock. Just a perfect background while taking in the Mediterranean sun. We set up our towels on the strip of land connecting the island to the mainland with our feet in the water, there were no waves so you could do that. The water was clear like a swimming pool, all the way through you could see to the bottom.
When we were done taking the sun, we hiked from the beach, up to the road, up to the town center, up to the monastery. It was a long steep hike, but along the way were lots of flowers and increasingly beautiful views of the sea below. When we finally reached the monastery at the top there was a wedding going on, so we didn’t hang around long. We worked our way back to the town, where another wedding was going on in the church there, and took in the day-time atmosphere of the city. We saw gardens, tombs, shops, and everything the city had to offer.
Photos from this day are in my Calabria and Sicilia Album: