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Day 21, Friday, June 12, 2015 On To Taormina

sunny 80 °F

Happy to say that I was wrong about the Dubs being done. Kerr does it again, starting Iguodala in place of Bogut who has done nothing in this series. Beating the Cavs by 20 on the road is a statement that needed to be made. And I love his comment when asked afterward about his statement to the media just before game time that there would be no changes to the lineup…”I lied…Last time I checked they don’t award the trophy for morality…it’s who wins.”

Taormina is to be our last stop on this trip. We have three nights there and then three flights on Monday to get home. We embarked on our two hour drive from Ragusa with Kate the Nav trying her very best. We were scheduled to turn the car in at Giardini Naxos, the next town before Taormina. However, the rental place was closed from 1 to 4pm and we were on schedule to arrive around 2pm. So, we decided to go to the hotel and unload our bags and check in. When we got off the Autostrada, we made a wrong turn, as our concierge informed us. This wrong turn took us on endlessly winding, narrow roads through the town of Taormina when we were informed that we were only 2 minutes away had we made the correct turn.

Our concierge also suggested that EuropAuto often picked up customer’s cars from the hotel because it was so close. So, I waited until 4pm when they opened and spoke with a very nice woman who agreed to pick up the car for an additional charge of 30 euro…money well spent…although it has yet to appear on my credit card.

We checked into the Panoramic Hotel. It had been so long since I booked these hotels, I had really forgotten why I had chosen them. The hotel is in the lower part of Taormina with breathtaking views overlooking the bay where the Belle Isole resides. Belle Isole is a small island no more than 500 meters from where our hotel sits in the Ionian Sea.

Taormina is a commune and small town on the east coast of the island located 206 meters above sea level on a hillside of Monte Tauro, one of the last peaks of the mounts Peloritani. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century. It has popular beaches accessible via a frightening (for me) aerial tramway) on the Ionian Sea.The area around Taormina was inhabited by the Siculi even before the Greeks arrived on the Sicilian coast in 734 BC to found a town called Naxos. The theory that Tauromenion was founded by colonists from Naxos is confirmed by Strabo and other ancient writers. The new settlement seems to have risen rapidly to prosperity, and was apparently already a considerable town at the time of Timoleon's expedition in 345 BC. It was the first place in Sicily where that leader landed, having eluded the vigilance of the Carthaginians, who were guarding the Straits of Messina, and crossed direct from Rhegium (modern Reggio di Calabria) to Tauromenium. The city was at that time still under the government of Andromachus, whose mild and equitable administration is said to have presented a strong contrast with that of the despots and tyrants of the other Sicilian cities. He welcomed Timoleon with open arms, and afforded him a secure resting place until he was enabled to carry out his plans in other parts of Sicily. Andromachus was not deprived of his position of power when all the other tyrants were expelled by Timoleon, but was permitted to retain it undisturbed till his death.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Taormina continued to rank as one of the more important towns of Sicily, and because of the strength of its position was one of the last places that was retained by the Eastern Roman emperors; but it was taken by the Arabs in 902 after a siege of two years. Taormina was renamed "Al-Muizzia" in honor of Imam al-Muizz, who was a Fatimid Caliph (reigned 953–75). Muslim rule of the town lasted until 1078 when it was captured by the Norman count Roger I of Sicily.
After the fall of the Normans and of their heirs, the Hohenstaufen, Taormina followed the history of Sicily under the Angevins and then the Crown of Aragon. In 1410 King Martin II of Sicily was elected here by the Sicilian Parliament. Later Taormina was under Spanish suzerainty, receiving the status of "city" in the 17th century.

In 1675 it was besieged by the French, who had occupied Messina. Under the Bourbons dynasty of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, Taormina did not have a relevant role; however, it obtained an easier access when part of the Catrabico promontory was partially cut and a seaside road connecting it to Messina and Catania was created. It received also a station on the second-oldest railroad in the region. Starting from the 19th century Taormina became a popular tourist resort in the whole of Europe: people who visited Taormina include Oscar Wilde, Nicholas I of Russia, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche (who here wrote his Thus Spoke Zarathustra), Richard Wagner and many others. The Taormina film festival is taking place while I write this and the stars present include Patricia Arquette and Richard Gere. The films are shown in the ancient Greek theater.

During the early 20th century the town became a colony of expatriate artists, writers, and intellectuals. Albert Stopford grew roses in his Edwardian garden; D. H. Lawrence stayed at the Fontana Vecchia from 1920 to 1922. (He wrote a number of his poems, novels, short stories, and essays, and a travel book, Sea and Sardinia.) Thirty years later, from April 1950 through September 1951, the same villa was home to Truman Capote, who wrote of his stay in the essay "Fontana Vecchia." Also Tennessee Williams, Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais visited the place.

All I can say is that we have travelled to many beautiful places and the view that we have from the terrace off of our room rivals all of those. Sleep deprived from the Warriors game and having arrived mid-afternoon we explored the property which is laid out very nicely. We have a room on the 3rd floor overlooking the beach and the Isole Belle, the top floor in the hotel with rooms. The fourth floor is where breakfast is served and is a very nice, open air space with tables and couches and a bar. On the 5th floor is the swimming pool and another bar. We decided to settle in by the pool until it was nap time and then played some doms out on the terrace. I looked around and suddenly noticed that there was a dove sitting very quietly under a palm tree that was on our terrace. I went to give her some peanuts and she moved away briefly, revealing two eggs and a nest. There was a small cup of water which we re-filled. The father would fly up from time to time to check on her.

We had dinner at Da Giovanni, a ristorante directly across the street from our hotel and it was quite good. The views are spectacular. I had my fallback prosciutto and melon and spaghetti carbonara. Margaret had a huge appetizer plate with various meats and cheeses and some great bread followed by frito misto. We then walked back across the street to a little gelato place for dessert.

Posted by stevencavalli07 08:18 Archived in Italy

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