June 13 Taormina (Day 260)

After breakfast at the apartment we caught an earlyish train for the 5 minute ride to the next town south of us, Taormina. A tourist hotspot we’ve heard, due to the ancient Greek/Roman Theater at the center of the town situated up on the top of a hill. Arriving at the train station which is at the bottom of the hill, we opted to take the local bus up, rather than hike up in the already steamy heat! We walked into the picturesque town and purposely turned right rather than the left turn toward the theater. We found our way to a park overlooking the small bay of the Ionian Sea.

We got a great view down to the bay and out in the distance towards Mt. Etna.

The park is shaded by huge trees and filled with beautiful flowers.

And I got a closeup view of a sicilian wall lizard, maybe as common as our fence lizards back in Oregon.

Mt. Etna, the most active volcano on earth, overshadows Sicily and has been instrumental in the human history of the island! It and the Mediterranean climate are the reasons that agricultural products rule the economy and the food is stellar! It may be the reason the Greeks settled in the area and built the first theater on the top of the hill around the third century B.C.! Earthquakes and invasions damaged it and it was rebuilt by the Romans in the third century A.D.! It was rediscovered and excavated in the 1800’s and became a focus of “The Grand Tour” wherein young, wealthy, Englishmen mostly, traveled ‘the Continent’ to be educated on Greek & Roman history, culture and architecture.

Layer upon layer of culture, history and architecture!

The stage from the ‘nosebleed section’. The theater is still used for concerts, operas and plays!

As the day went on into the afternoon the crowds increased and we decided to head home to laid-back Letojanni! We caught the bus back down to the train station and had some time to admire the restored station. It must have been a marvel when the elite travelers on the Grand Tour arrived back in the day!

The painted ceiling and ornate grillwork reflect more recent artistic culture in the very colorful town!

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