And speaking of gorgeous places to explore...Taormina, Sicily was one of my favorite places on our tour. Our hotel was actually located down the hill and along the sea while the town of Taormina is located on the top of the hill. There is SO much to see there including a set of impressive ruins. As lovely as our hotel was I just can't cover this area without introducing you to the seaside of this part of Sicily.
The area below Taormina is called Mazzaro but is considered part of Taormina. There is a tram that you can catch for a few euro that takes you back up to the old town so many choose to stay here. With views like this it's a wonderful idea!
We stayed at the Hotel Villa Esperia which is a mid rate hotel with a million dollar view! The location was wonderful too. Located right on the edge of downtown we were able to have these amazing views but the convenience of the shops and restaurants and the tram up to Taormina easily available.
There are many wonderful, exclusive hotels in the area and the clientele can be found as well...in town, at the hotels and on their yachts. While I don't live in that world, it was nice to enjoy the view and daydream about it!
Talking to the locals while shopping in this area I was assured that one of the most wonderful places to stay is the Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay. If you have a few minutes go explore that link. It's gorgeous!
Artwork can be found everywhere you look. I adored this beautiful rooftop at the Grand Hotel.It was easy to imagine staying at this hotel and enjoying this luxury of relaxing on the sea side. The "regular" folk can still enjoy the sea too...there was a staircase down to the ocean just a couple of blocks from our hotel. Early May is a bit too cold for a dip in the ocean so we passed on it but if you went later in the summer it would be wonderful!
In fact, from the bottom of that staircase you could see, and reach, Isloa Bella. This was obviously a very popular place to enjoy the rocky shoreline since everyone we met told us how to get there!I wouldn't call our hotel "Posh" but it was very pretty and very comfortable. At this point in the lobby you could walk forward and into the restaurant or make a left and head out to the sunroom and the pool. I hung out in here for a few hours of wifi time enjoying coffee from the cafe and visiting with some of our fellow travelers...it was a wonderful break!
We headed to the sunroom to have an afternoon snack and enjoy the view. Mealtimes are very different in Italy. Breakfast may be early but it's hearty and then, about 2 pm, there will be lunch and a rest period where shops will close. Dinner begins after 7 pm and goes on till after 10. So an afternoon snack is usually in order for those of us who are use to dinner around 5 pm. This was a lovely view to enjoy while we snacked and whiled away some time.
As the day got closer to sunset I was thrilled to catch this view of the rolling clouds reflected in the pool. You can see what a lovely view of the sea we had from here.
When we got back to our room to change for dinner I found this adorable guest on our patio. I don't know why cats and lizards find me when I travel but I love that they do!
Over our day out we inquired with different people about the local restaurants and several told us to go to Ristorante Castelluccio for authentic Sicilian food. Since it wasn't even a half block from our hotel we decided to give it a try.
The beautiful details of the exterior were just beautiful.Inside was warm and homey and colorful. We were immediately seated by one of the four family members who own and run the restaurant. She assured us her mom would be thrilled to have Americans in their place and she was true to her word. Both her mom and her brother dropped by our table to practice their English and make us feel more like family than customers.
Elegant place settings that were also beautiful and filled with color just added to the wonderful ambiance of the dining area.
But you go to a restaurant to eat, right? Well, you won't be disappointed here! The caprese Salad and caponata were wonderful! We tried both a red and a white wine and both were amazing. As we ate the sun set and it got very dim inside so I really couldn't get good photos of the entrees but none of us were disappointed in our meals. It was simply amazing food!
These little mandarin orange trees grow outside the front doors and the mom treated us to some Mandarin Liquor as our digestive, or after dinner drink. This is meant to help you digest your meal after hours of eating. It was wonderful and a bottle was purchased from a shop the next day to come home with us too! We spent 3 hours enjoying our meal and every minute was spent laughing, eating great food and spending time feeling like a member of the family over for a family dinner. I really couldn't recommend it enough.
We were there for 2 days and our second day I caught the sunset from the pool balcony. The view of Castlemola from here is stunning!
Next week we'll head into the old town of Taormina so you can see part of this wonderful town.