Taormina is a popular tourist town with beautiful piazzas in a sunny climate set upon a hill, with views of a calm, glittering blue sea and then, there are the nightly fireworks, frequently spouting high in the sky from the volcano, Mount Etna, leaving visitors in awe. The town’s principal attraction – the view – is free to enjoy, and careful planning can make Taormina accessible to all budgets. March, April and May are the best months to enjoy the sunshine (usually), and the relatively-uncrowded streets and restaurants.
While we were being driven around the Taormina area, our first impression (which lasted) was that we were in paradise. It would be impossible to not be ecstatic with the backdrop scenes of ornate structures, pedestrian streets, large impressive piazzas, and cascading flowers on a hill, which overlooks shining, deep blue, calm seas, with a clear view of any Mt. Etna and any volcanic activity. Eventually, we arrived at our destination, a lovely pink structure, the Villa Schuler at Piazzetta Bastione / Via Roma in Taormina; Phone: +39 0942 23481.
When our driver dropped us off at the bottom of the street with steps leading to the entrance of the Villa Schuler Hotel, both the hotel staff and our tour guide, Daneila of “Palermo Walks” assisted us with our luggage. While we were waiting for our bags to be placed in our room and our driver, Giuseppi to find a parking spot, we were sitting on their terrace with a sea view, enjoying some refreshing drinks.
When we finally settled into our room, we were very pleased with a large sized room with two double beds and a view of their gardens. The bathroom was huge. It had a bath tub with jets and a rope line to hang our wet clothes. Of course the room had A/C, WIFI, a minibar where we could store any perishable foods, and satellite TV service.
In the mornings, we would eat on their terrace with a view of the sea. We were delighted to be able to order almost anything which was then, brought to our table.
The hostesses at the concierge desk were very gracious in assisting us with booking tours; providing advice, directions and helpful suggestions; and obtaining tickets.
As long as you can do steps, the location was excellent. We were able to cut through their garden to steps which led directly to the main street, Corso Umberto.
I did check in June 2016, what the rates for a room with a double bed and a garden view would cost in April 2017. The Villa Schuler’s advertised pricing was 132 euros or about $147 usd per evening.
Here are some photos of Villa Schuler:
The Town of Taormina is a top attraction
For us, the town of Taormina was a major attraction in itself. It is a pleasure to stroll along the main street, Corso Umberto, which is mostly a pedestrian walkway extending from the grand entrance provided by the Porta Messina (archway) with the nearby Piazza Vittoria Emanuele and then crossing the town to end at Porta Catania (another archway). This main street is lined with romantic, intricately ornate building facades, massive piazzas (squares), designer and souvenir shops, open-air cafes and terraces, which are just perfect for sauntering and stopping to savor the views of the sea and Mt. Etna.
Here are photos of some of the town sites:
Villa Comunale/ Public Gardens on Via Roma
On Via Roma (east direction) and below what was the Dominican monastery, there are the municipal gardens of Villa Comunale. The gardens were created by Florence Trevelyan, an Englishwoman who planted rare species and built the imaginative Victorian stone follies that exist today. Its has some excellent viewpoints of the sea and the surrounding terrain.
This was an attraction that was within a short walking distance from our hotel, Villa Schuler.
Here are a series of photos of the Villa Comunale/ public gardens:
We did our evening promenade under the stars on the premier street, Corso Umberto until we became hungry. We passed several restaurants with menus that just didn’t suit our fancy.
We finally decided on a restaurant off of Corso Umberto, “La Cisterna del Moro” on Via Bonifacio; phone 0039-0942 23001. We had to walk down some steps to be quickly escorted to a covered terrace with twinkling lights and a lovely view of the sea. Everything that we tried on their menu from a simple pizza to a several course meal, wines and treats were well prepared and were absolutely scrumptious. There was an elderly gentleman who was constantly hovering over the waiters to ensure they did their tasks to perfection. As a result, the service and courtesy extended to us was exceptional.
We could tell that ingredients used were of the highest quality and freshness. The chef was obviously knowledgeable and very innovative which became apparent as we studied the menu. The dishes offered included Sicilian specialties like pasta with sardines, fennel and pine nuts with toasted bread crumbs to traditional choices such as lasagna. Even the pizzas were outstanding productions. We were told that the fish is exclusively caught from the Mediterranean Sea.