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We spent this year’s Easter week in Sicily – first at Taormina and then Siracusa. Both are on the east coast of Sicily. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century.


The town is situated in a beautiful location perched on a cliff, rising 200 m above the Ionian sea.


Behind the town rising up to 3330 m (11,000 feet) is the tallest active volcano in Europe, the snow-capped Mount Etna.

Along the coast on the north is Mazzeo, a beach town.


The autostrada that runs along the coast up to Messina is visible here.


On the south side is Giadini Naxos, another beach town which is quite popular, judging by the number of beach front hotels.


There were a lot to do here and we had not even scratched surface.


A headland lies beneath Taormina. The village Mazzaro connects to a small island – Isola Bella, a nature reserve.


The little island was privately owned until 1990 when it was auctioned and acquired by the state.


A road with numerous hairpin loops winds its way from the waterfront to Taormina.


A cable car connects Taormina with the beaches but it was not running when we were there. It opens on April 1 every year. We were a few days too early.


The area has a very long history of human settlement – the nearby town Naxos was founded around 700 BC. During the early 20th century the town became a colony of expatriate artists, writers, and intellectuals.


The town has been running a film festival almost as long as Cannes. Last year, it celebrated its 60th anniversary while this year’s Festival de Cannes is the 67th (which incidentally concluded today).


In part 2, we will share pictures of the town itself. Come back in a few days.


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