The most famous building in Taormina is the Greek Theatre, which was featured in the Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite. The theatre dates from the 2nd Century AD, when the Romans enlarged and transformed the original Greek amphitheatre, to better accommodate circus games and gladitorial contests. The vista northwards towards Messina along the coast included cable cars descending the hillside to the shore, where the waves were lapping gently onto the sandy and sheltered beaches.

On the road to the theatre ceramic hens, flowered tiles, olive oil, Marsala wine and models of traditional Sicilian carts vied for your attention. Some shops sold puppets representing various figures from Sicily’s turbulent past, some of good character such as Charlemagne, some bad such as Arabic infidels, and some of a traitorous nature, such as one Gano di Mangosa, who is always depicted with squinting eyes, as a traitor can’t look someone straight in the eye, it is said. Other stalls were also selling mouth-watering gelati and this combined with the adverts for some of the local specialities such as Pasta con la sarde, made with freshly caught sardines and Pasta alla Norma, made with tomatoes, aubergines and ricotta cheese made me ravenous.

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734