A Little Piece of Heaven in Taormina, Sicily

Traveler: Barış Çakmakçı – Journalist

What is your most unforgettable escape? Taormina in Sicily, which is ‘a little piece of heaven’. That’s not my description. It belongs to Goethe. However I have also felt like I tasted a ‘little piece of heaven’ through out my stay in Taormina. 

What was the purpose of your travel? To experience the newly appointed flights to Catania and have a Mediterranean vacation in October. Dolce & Gabbana runway shows also helped me in my decision as well.

How many people did you travel? We were four friends.

Where did you stay? We booked a house through Airbnb.com, which we thought would provide us a more local experience compared to the hotels. 

What did you most like about the trip? To be able to enjoy sun for the last time before winter comes, for sure. However I also have to say that I’ve never seen such a blue Mediterranean in any other season. Moreover Etna, which was active back in 2001 most recently, had its share in this glamorous experience as well.  

Could you share an unforgettable memory about the trip? During our visit to the ancient theater, Teatro Greco Romano a tourist, whom we have found out was a mezzosoprano afterwards, started to sing an aria, out of the blue. The acoustics of the theatre was unbelievable. 

Your most surprising find during the trip? The Piazza IX Aprile square that looks at Etna is one of our Taormina favourites. You can enjoy the sea while you’re eating your delicious ice cream for hours. And believe me; this is one of the most relaxing experiences ever!   

Favorite restaurant(s) or food you have tried during your trip? You can always find different types of Limoncello, which is a good digestive. My friends’ suggestion Arancini, an appetizer stuffed with beef, peas and cheese is a really nourishing treat. And those wonderful desserts… If you care about Michelin stars, you should try Principe Cerami in San Domenico. But don’t forget to make your reservation first.     

What is the must tries of the city? Strolling around…  Taormina which has hosted Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, the Umayyad Dynasty, Abbasids, Normans and Spanish before the Italians is probably the most beautiful part of Sicily with its narrow alleys located on cliffs, flowers in almost every balcony you see, seaside restaurants, crystal clear sea and traditional artisan shops.

Any hidden gems you could whisper to us? If you ever go to the island of Isola Bella, take the path in the water! The part where the island meets the mainland is fabulous to look at and one of the most beautiful coasts is located in this region. 

Would you go back? Definitely. Now I know why Elizabeth Taylor came here every summer and how love-struck Richard Burton must have felt when he proposed to her in a cafe in Taormina.

Could you list a few of your favorite finds you came back with? These can be anything from traditional finds to airport finds to hotel creams! Il Caparena Beach Club and Il Lido Stockholm are among the most fabulous beaches around the region. But keep in mind; they charge 10 euros for the sunbeds. And you can only find pebble beaches here. But no worries! It’s still comfortable enough to lie down and enjoy the sun…

Any tips that might be useful to know before going there? Porcelains are a gift-shop favorite. But take your time to look around. You can always find a cheaper alternative in the next store, such as a good-looking figurine or maybe a chandelier. Besides you’ll have plenty of time for ‘gift-hunting’ after you visit all the touristic places. 

Next stop you would like to visit? Yerevan, at the end of April’15.