Type Cast in Taormina

Mount Etna — The tallest active volcano in Europe. Yes, that is smoke coming from the central crater

We started out early, climbing through the towns on the slopes of the volcano. People do make the choice to live there…especially to take advantage of the rich volcanic soils to grow olives and grapes (for some of the finest wines now coming out of Sicily, Italy, and pretty much anywhere). Beekeeping is also special in this area. Tasting wine and honey on the way back was a real pleasure. We climbed for almost an hour, watching changing foliage until there was none, and dropping temperatures until we had to add another layer. The old lava flows and volcanic rock outcrops were evidenced everywhere.

At about 6,000 feet we reached the Silverstri craters (the limit of where one can drive). Evidence of past eruptions and resultant flows is everywhere. Climbers and gondolas were moving tentatively up toward the central crater.

We climbed up carefully through the ash and 50-60 mph winds to get a look into one of the craters (above, looking down into the center). The winds were cold and gusty warning you to stay back from the edge of the — no worries!

Walking the rim, and views outward. It was time to move down away from the cold and wind.

A local dog and goat wish us a safe goodbye.

Back to Taormina, one of our first stops is the pistachio store where we were treated to a discussion of this region of “the best” of the best. Treated to pistachio brittle, nougat, cannoli, and pistachio liqueur, and the opportunity to buy to your heart’s content.

The Teatro Greco (Greek Theater) built into this beautiful city’s hillside is a site to behold and to climb. It’s the place for views to Mt. Etna, picturesque seaside towns and the arc of the coastline. Built in the 3rd century, BCE, rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century, BCE, it still has amazing acoustics and is still used for music and dance performances.

We spent some free time exploring the town, again, more famous now because of the filming of the White Lotus. It’s made the economy of the town boom as we felt by the wall to wall tourists walking the streets and shopping the very expensive shops. Vanessa said this is nothing. Wait until the summer season and you would think you are in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve! All in all, the place is gorgeous.

Back at the hotel we chose one of the nice local restaurants (because the one two doors down had a loud Tarantella group serenading the locals and tourists. We were ready for some quiet and delicious pasta bolognese and a beautifully grilled local sea bass. Of course, just before we were served, the Tarantellas stormed in. Oh well, so much for quiet. But to be honest, they were good and had the whole restaurant singing…and dancing. Full, satisfied and exhausted, we made our way back to rest up for tomorrow’s Local Sicilian Cooking Course and Lunch. We’re learning and cooking regional recipes…maybe you’ll be invited soon to check out our new culinary skills.

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2 Responses to Type Cast in Taormina

  1. bob collins says:

    Always enjoy tagging your adventures…

  2. Mt Etna brings back fond memories Great pictures

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