In which Sicilian hospitality creates wonderful memories
One of the best things about travelling with a high quality tour company is the special, extra experiences they offer which are not accessible to other visitors to Italy.
We’ve experienced this priceless opportunity on every one of the trips we’ve taken with our favorite Italian hosts, and our recent excursions in Sicily were no exception.
Visiting Mt. Etna on the second last day of the tour was definitely one for the memory books, but the “icing on the cake” for the Best of Sicily was an unforgettable lunch the next day in nearby Taormina.
We spent the morning walking the streets and seeing the sights in this ancient town. From the city gates to the shopping high street, local guide Micaela shared special insights and stories along with orientation and brief history lessons.
She pointed out the key landmarks, including the Grand Hotel Timeo where Donald Trump stayed during the 2017 meeting of global leaders, the G7. Micaela told us what it was like to have the town cleared of tourists, invaded by secret service people and diplomatic delegations, and how she had to show a pass and go thru a checkpoint just to go down the hill to get groceries.
She shared the highlights of the remarkable clifftop municipal gardens, including the story of Florence Trevelyan who is memorialized there: a former lady in waiting to Queen Victoria whose love life led her to flee England and start a new life in Sicily.
Capping off the morning walk was a visit to the Greek amphitheatre. There’s something very special to visit a monument erected during the second half of the third century BCE.
We were told that the subsequent lords of Taormina, under Roman rule, rebuilt and repurposed the space, until it fell into neglect after an earthquake in 365 CE. From there, it was more than a thousand years until Renaissance interest led to the beginning of centuries of excavation, restoration and preservation.
We marvelled as we followed in the footsteps of thousands of earlier visitors, including those…