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July 26, 2008


Spectacularly located on a terrace of Monte Tauro, dominating the sea with views west to Mt Etna - it is difficult to exaggerate the charm of taormina, Sicily's glitziest resort. Over the centuries Taormina has seduced an exhaustive line of writers and artists, aristocrats and royalty and these days it is host to a summer film festival that packs the town with the international jet set. The city is far removed from the banal economic realities of other Sicilian cities, as it is cushioned by some serious wealth. However, the charm and beauty are not manufactured. As capital of Byzantine Sicily in the 9th century, Taormina is an almost perfectly preserved medieval town, and if you can tear yourself away from the shopping and sunbathing it has a wealth of small but perfect tourist sites. In July and August the town is packed with tourists; it is difficult to find accommodation and even dining can be a problem. A good time to come is at either end of the high season (April to May or September to October), when everything quietens down a bit.