Lexicon of Sicily, from Taormina to Trapani

Sicilian encyclopedia for travel and knowledge

Taormina. The distinctive anvil shape of this part of the east coast of Sicily has been inhabited since the 8th century BC. Do visit the Necropolis of Mola. Nevertheless, the first recognizable town was constructed by the Siculi in the 5th century BC. Called Tauromenion it was built by Greek colonists from Naxos after the destruction of their own town. From that period we can still see the fabulous theatre which was subsequently rebuilt by the Romans. Modern Taormina is a refined centre built on Monte Tauro and sits snugly between rocky slopes and the smooth Ionian Sea, not forgetting the lush beaches of Mazzarò, Lido Spisone and Mazzeo. Taormina can claim to be the most celebrated tourist resort in the whole of Sicily. It first attracted travelers in the 18th century by offering accommodation following the suppression of the religious guilds in 1866. But its name really took off in 1868 when Prussian Baron Ottone Geleng was inspired by Goethe to see this corner of Italy for himself. The Baron spent his time painting and his work was soon exhibited in Paris. Taormina then became a magnet for Europe's elite. Another stroke of good fortune was an outbreak of cholera in Palermo which encouraged the nobility of the city to take refuge in 1875. The sumptuous villas are a result of this period. Modern Taormina should be taken in along "Corso Umberto" which winds its way from Porta Messina to Porta Cavea.

Terrasini is located between Palermo and Trapani, 24 km west of Palermo, 32 meters above sea level on the vast, impressive Gulf of Castellammare, in the past the scene of historical events and sailed by Greek and Roman Phoenicians sailing ships. Now a tourist center with a population of about 10,000, a number that easily triples in the summer months, not only because of the beautiful location of the town but also for the hospitality of its people. Terrasini was named most probably after his interspersed coast with grottos and caves, from the Latin "terraesinus".

Tindari is a cape that sits 10 kilometers east of the city of Patti on the northern coast of Sicily. If you approach Tindari from the east, it looks like a great dragon with small hills rising from the sea and a high peak, which is the dragon's head. The Greek colony of Tyndaris was founded in 396 B.C. by Dionysius the Elder, a tyrant from Syracuse. Because of its strategic location, it was able to take control of the waters between the Aeolian Islands and Messina, but it was eventually taken over by the Carthaginians and later by the Arabs. Therefore, Tindari's ancient history is one of conquest and defeat and the modern city offers up stunning archeological remains that testify to this history. If you climb the hills of Tindari you can see Patti Bay and the beaches stretching up to Cape Milazzo. The path to the top of Capo Tindari passes alongside the city's walls, which were built during the reign of Dionysius and later replaced with a double barrier of square stones. The Christian Sanctuary sits high on the hill in the city. It is famous for its black Madonna statue that draws visitors from afar on the Feast of the Visitation in May and the Nativity on September 8. The Greco-Roman Theater is just off the Decumanus Superiore, which is the main road in the city. It was built by the Greeks in the late 4th century and its cavea, or auditorium, faces the sea and the Aeolian Islands. In imperial times, it was the stage for gladiator fights. Now, from the last week in July to the third week in August the theater hosts the Tindari Festival, at which poetry, music, dances and plays are performed. Tindari is also a great place to stay when visiting the Aeolian Islands.

Trapani is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Trapani.

It has an area of 2,460 sq km, and a total population of 425,121 (2001). There are 24 comunes in the province of Trapani. Besides the capital Trapani, other cities and places of interest in the province include Segesta, Gibellina, Erice, Castelvetrano, Alcamo, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo, Castellammare del Golfo, and Mozia. The nearby island of Pantelleria, and the Aegadian Islands are also administratively a part of Trapani province. The province of Trapani alone produces more wine than the entire regions of Tuscany or Piedmont or such nations as Hungary, Austria or Chile.