Rome to Istanbul – Day 4 (Taormina)

Taormina Sicily – I was here for work (a NATO ASI project through 3M) 32 years ago. I was anxious to return to see what time had done to a wonderful little village.

For me there are three things in (and or near) Taormina that I remember and that I wanted to see.

Mt. Etna, the ancient Greek theatre and the romantic village itself with shops, restaurants and an authentic feel.

We were fortunate to be able to experience all three. As we cruised in at dawn, one of the first things you notice is the majestic Etna in the distance. It is still active and seems to remind everyone of its presence every 10 years or so. More on that later.

In order to get to the theater you really have to wander down the main street of the ancient town. A single lane road that seems to have its hands full just with pedestrians, but every so so a delivery truck a scooter or a passenger car weaves its way through town.

At the end of the road one arrives at the Greek theater. It has undergone a number of evolutions through the years, including a retro fit by the romans in the third or fourth century.

It still holds live concerts. I still remember attending one in ’83. Quite an inspiring place and the views are amazing.

Finally we went on to Mt. Etna. When I was last here there had been an eruption in the late spring. I was here only a couple of months afterwards. We visited where lava had flowed across the road in a couple of places and it was still warm to the touch.

The effects of time, wind, rain and lichens have started to transform the landscape. You can still see some of the calderae (collapsed domes) and the plant life that is starting to return. A bit eerie and beautiful at the same time.

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