Taormina is a small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. The present town of Taormina occupies the ancient site, on a lofty hill which forms the last… [Read more]
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Taormina is a small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. The present town of Taormina occupies the ancient site, on a lofty hill which forms the last projecting point of the mountain ridge that extends along the coast from Cape Pelorus to this point. The site of the old town is about 250 m above the sea, while a very steep and almost isolated rock, crowned by a Saracen Castle, rises about 150 m higher.
The most remarkable monument remaining at Taormina is the Ancient theatre, which is one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily, on account both of its remarkable preservation and of the surpassing beauty of its situation. It is built for the most part of brick, and is therefore probably of Roman date, though the plan and arrangement are in accordance with those of Greek, rather than Roman, theatres. With a diameter of 109 m (after an expansion in the 2nd century), this theatre is the second largest of its kind in Sicily (after that of Syracuse). The greater part of the original seats have disappeared, but the wall which surrounded the whole Cavea is preserved, and the proscenium with the back wall of the Scena and its appendages, of which only traces remain in most ancient theatres, are here preserved in singular integrity, and contribute much to the picturesque effect, as well as to the interest, of the ruin. From the fragments of architectural decorations still existant we learn that it was of the Corinthian order, and richly ornamented. Some portions of a temple are also visible, converted into the church of San Pancrazio, but the edifice is of small size.