Our first long break here in Sicily was at the beach-side town of Letojanni. Not a lot of town – and not particularly attractive either – nestled between the sea and the motorway and railway. Its principle reasons for being popular are the (stony) beaches and easy access into Taormina (known as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily).
|Letojanni in the distance, from Taormina|
We were picked up at the train station by our host’s mother and sister and driven to the apartment via a supermarket, as it became apparent that we weren’t hiring a car and the biggest supermarket around was too far away to walk. Our apartment at the far end of town was in one of a series of blocks that were either hotels or private apartments, all sharing a private beach. Nice and modern except for an appallingly-designed bathroom, unless sitting on the toilet with your shoulder and thigh pressed to the wall and your feet in the shower tray is the norm here …
|Looking from our apartment towards Taormina|
We did avail ourselves of the beach a couple of times for
dips: the water hasn’t yet had time to warm up, so the experience was refreshing. Still, the sun was hot
and there were only a couple of others on the beach. In fact there are very few
tourists in town so we presume that July/August is the short peak season.
Probably not hot enough for the Italians yet, and the English we’ve seen are mostly
older and seeing the sights, but there are quite a few Germans around.
|Letojanni water-front street|
The best that this town offers are the numerous restaurants along the beach, mainly serving fish and seafood dishes.
|Prosecco for Vicki|
|a short step from our apartment to the Med|
|The result of an Italian apartment without a corkscrew! Nigel used a knife to chip away then push in the cork. Loved the line "morbido e corposo', which, strangely, has nothing to do with corpses and morbidity.|
The town of Taormina sits up on the hills nearby. It has a long history of being important to the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and everyone else who has been through Sicily. In the 19th and early 20th Centuries it became a popular tourist destination and still is – tourists everywhere. The main street is full of expensive designer shops so it is well maintained and very pretty with numerous restaurants.
|The Greek theatre sits above the town|
Apart from the usual spectacular churches it is famous for its Greek theatre with a backdrop of Mount Etna. We did make our way up hundreds of ill-maintained steps to an old church built into the rock and then further up to the top of the overlooking hill where there are the remains of a Saracen castle. Sadly the gates were locked as it is probably in a dangerous state of repair, but we were rewarded with glorious views back over Taormina, the sea, and Mount Etna. And while that was my highlight of the day, Vicki’s was her special lunch: a crepe filled with pistachio gelato, lightly grilled and topped with pistachio cream and chocolate sauce. Not for the faint-hearted. It now qualifies as “Best Crepe Ever”.
|Taormina's main piazza|
|Our second "narrowest street in Italy"|
|the church built into a very large overhanging rock|
|this symbol of Sicily is everywhere|
|A locked gate at the Saracen fort|
|view of a neighbouring village|
|Lunch for 4.50 euros at the train station ...|