Monday, December 26, 2011

Sicily: Taormina and Castelmola

For our last weekend in Sicily we stayed in what everyone told us was the most beautiful part of the island, Taormina, and we're so glad we did. At one point we could look out to the Ionian Sea, snow-capped Mt. Etna, rolling mountains, and old towns built into steep mountains. Minus the towns the whole scene was reminiscent of Jurassic Park!

On the hotel roof.
Jurassic Park-like mountains.
Mt. Etna

Since we went in the very off season we were able to stay at a very luxurious hotel! The rooms were decorated with Arabic patterns and colors and the view from our windows looked out to the endless sea and Mt. Etna.

View from our room.

We went to the Teatro Greco (Greek Theater), which is the site to see while in Taormina. It was built in 7th century B.C. and is the second largest in Sicily (with Siracusa's being first). It is the most celebrated ruins in Sicily not only because it is so well preserved, but because of the remarkable scene it looks out to.

Saturday was our wine tasting day and we hired Gaetano from a tour company to drive us to three different Etna wineries. These wineries had some amazing Sicilian wine grown with the soil from the volcanic site. Wine tasting is just a little different here than in the States. First, you sit down at a table while someone pours you tastings instead of standing at a bar area. Second, the tastings are not a little sip each. They fill your glass halfway with wine. Third, many places will leave the bottles on the table and tell you to take as much as you want. All of this rang true for when we went wine tasting in Tuscany too. So needless to say, we had a very good time with the wine (maybe too much??), although the following pictures were taken before we had even one sip of wine.

Don't press that!

Wine please!
Warning- the following pictures are not suitable for work! The next day we went to a town called Castelmola. This town is perched way above Taormina and consists of narrow, winding roads to get to the top. It has an old world charm to it with panoramic views of Taormina, the sea, and Mt. Etna. One of the biggest places to see in this town is Bar Turrisi. Tourists have named this bar "Dicks Bar", "Fertility Bar", or "The Penis Bar". The inside of the bar is decorated with... hmm, how do I say this? A lot of penises! They are present in different shapes, lengths, and materials like wood, ceramics, terracotta, worked iron, and pasta. There were penises everywhere... even the faucet in the bathroom was a long and curved penis with the knobs representing... well you get where I'm going with it. The reason behind this was that the penis is not a vulgar symbol and it represents fertility, freedom, fortune, life, and beauty. The bar has been passed down from three generations and the owners also used the penis to symbolize the happiness of their era. Everyone reading this knows that we behaved like the mature 31 year olds that we are ;)

The menu and our seats.
This was just sitting on the table.

The one on the right almost poked my eye out on the way upstairs.

Deep in thought.

Afterwards, we took a walk and climbed up to the Norman Castle where again we were met with spectacular views. This was a fantastic weekend in Sicily!

Winding roads to get up to Castelmola.
Passing Capri on the ferry on the way back to Naples from Sicily.


  1. I wanna go to that bar! It's definitely different and would be a lot of fun! I don't think that bar would be open in the States! Your hotel room was beautiful! And the mountains did look like Jurassic Park! It looks like you guys had a wonderful time, but I'm sure it's good to be back in Naples!

  2. The night view from your room is so gorgeous!!! It looks like a screen saver! Also, I think we should have my bachelorette party at that restaurant one day!!!

  3. ps- the pics of you in that penis bar are like a modern day csic!