Taormina was full of surprises, starting with the dramatic 5-minute cable car ride up to town from the hotels at the beach. We found it teaming with cactuses and bougainvillea, interesting shops, local ceramics, weddings emerging from churches, and a Greek theater that's still used for concerts today. The small but stunning botanical gardens with playground and amazing views (above left) was a surprise, as was the lovely Rosmario Restaurant across the street, where we lunched on local specialties of fresh fish crudo and fried sardines - Sicily is a seafood lovers dream!
Don't miss the hike to Madonna della Rocca church which is accessed through a series of stone steps taking you up the mountain to the top of Taormina. We lucked out to have done it at sunset and were pleased to find a cute bar at the top playing disco music and gathering a crowd to enjoy the Mt. Etna views.
We didn't have time for a Mt. Etna visit/hike and winery lunch afterward, or to hike up to Castelmola, which is a tiny medieval town, both on my list for my next visit to Sicily.