Taormina and its surroundings

  • TaorminaOpen or Close

    Splendidly laid down on a rocky tableland 200m above sea level, Taormina boasts a superb position, facing both the sea and Mount Etna.
    Though being a privileged travel destination since the XVIII century, it only went through a remarkable tourist development from the last thirty years of XIX century. Several foreigners, mostly from England and Germany, chose to erect their villas in Taormina, and the town hosted several influential figures, from Emperor William II to King Edward VII, as well as distinguished families such as the Rotschilds and the Krupps.
    Teatro antico di TaorminaA mild climate makes Taormina an ideal tourist destination even in wintertime. Just think that average temperature in December is +12-20 Celsius degrees!
    The weather in spring and autumn is really pleasant (average temperature +20-25 Celsius degrees), the sea shines crystal-clear and bright, sunsets are unforgettable, and you can enjoy all this at an interesting price.
    The fragrance of white orange-blossoms in spring will fill you with unique sensations only Sicily can give.
    Between autumn and spring, the season of cultural events at the Greek-Roman Theatre in Taormina is quite thrilling for all drama, music and cinema fans.
    July and August are most suitable for families with children.
    All our guests will receive a list of recommended lidos and restaurants on arrival.

  • Little towns on Mount EtnaOpen or Close

    Mount Etna is not the volcano only. The little towns laid down on its slopes are likewise worth a visit. We will suggest you only a few, which undoubtedly deserve a short trip.

    Castiglione di Sicilia

    Castiglione di Sicilia Castle It is about 14km away from the property. From the old castle, baosting a watchtower dating back to the Middle-Ages, you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the Alcantara Valley. Its historical centre is remarkable, with buildings in medieval and baroque style. Here you may find good little restaurants, and typical retail shops selling local wine by measure.

    Randazzo (765m above sea level)

    It is 30-40 minutes drive from the property, and it boasts an interesting historical centre, where you can admire the Norman Royal Palace in gothyc style, partly used as City Hall, and the Swabian Castle (formerly a prison). S. Mary's, S. Nicholas' and S. Martin's churches are also worth mentioning. Randazzo can boast excellent restaurants, and local pork sausage and red wine are very renowned. This town hold a singular record: though being the closest to Mounta Etna's larger mouth (which is only 15km away), it has always been spared by lava flowings through the millenniums!


    Bronte pistachios' annual festivalBronte (about one hour's drive from the property) is the Sicilian capital of pistachios, and it's renowned for food specialties made with that fruit. The pistachios' annual festival, where you can taste all kinds of pistachios special dishes, takes place around the end of September (September 25 through 28 in 2008).

    Duchy of Bronte and Maniace

    Maniace's Castle, a few kilometres from Bronte, nearby the omonymous village, is likewise worth mentioning. Formerly a prison, it was assigned to Horatio Nelson together with a feud of 9.000 hectares extension in 1799, by decree of King Ferdinand III of Bourbon, who appointed Admiral Nelson Duke of Bronte to thank him for his support during the revolution in Naples in 1796.
    The castle was later inherited by the collateral line of the Hood Bridports, who sold it to the municipality of Maniace, together with the remaining lands, in 1981.

  • Reccomended tripsOpen or Close

    Taormina and Castelmola (about 7 km from the property)

    Of course Taormina is worth at least one visit, to enjoy its really breathtaking view on the sea, admire the Cathedral and Corvaja Palace or wander through its colourful little streets and stop at cafés and typical restaurants. We likewise suggest you to visit Castelmola village, perched on top of the same rock where Taormina lies (its local almond-flavoured wine cannot be missed).

    Alcantara Gorges (10 km from the property)

    Alcantara Gorges In a time lost in the mists of the past, a small volcano north of Mount Etna awakened and kept on erupting a huge flow of lava for years and years, which made its way to the sea and later created Schisò Cape, after plunging underwater. A small river then started running through the winding layer of lava, smoothing the volcanic rocks and trimming their slag off.
    Towards the end of its course, the river waters probably came upon a huge bulk of more friable rock, and made their way ahead creating two high walls of extremely hard basalt, which sparsely show fascinating prismatic formations. These are Alcantara Gorges, only a short stretch of which is currently accessible. A natural canyon amid lava rocks, a sight unrivalled anywhere in the world!
    You can cross the gorges, wading the Alcantara river bed, for a distance between 50 and 200m only, when the water is low. To avoid contact with the river waters, very chilly at all times, you may rent a special equiment at the entrance, a sort of waterproof dungaree consisting of armpit-high overall boots (like the ones fishermen use). Alcantara river bed is usually walkable May through September.

    Mount Etna

    Etna No doubt the Volcano deserves a half-day or full-day visit, according to the itinerary you choose. Once reached Rifugio Sapienza (a typical mountain hut 1.900m above sea level), about 45 minutes drive from the property, you can use the cableway to get to 2.000m altitude, then climb up to 2.900m on board of big off-road vehicles and have a stop at Torre del Filosofo. If you wish, you can venture on climbing from Rifugio Sapienza to Torre del Filosofo on your own, provided you are equipped with good trekking boots and goodwill. From 2.900-3.000m altitude you can get back to Rifugio Sapienza either walking or using the off-roads vehicles, as you prefer. Should you wish to explore paths or itineraries different from those usually suggested, you will find names and phone numbers of qualified guides on your arrival to Le Case del Principe.

  • Interesting places on the road to MessinaOpen or Close


    CasalvecchioTo reach this little town, drive towards Messina on Catania-Messina highway, take Roccalumera exit, turn towards Catania and then cross Furci Siculo and Santa Teresa Riva up to the crossroad leading to Casalvecchio.
    Out of the town centre, there is a place called Contrada San Pietro, on the left bank of Agrò stream, 3 km from Casalvecchio Siculo Here you may find a church, imposingly rising amid luxuriant citrus orchards, vestige of a centuries-old civilization and symbol of a time proudly reflecting its glory in art and culture. It is Saint Paul and Peter of Agrò church, a national monument, a jewel of Byzantine as well as Arab and Norman architectures, whose melted styles exalt the stunning polychromy of white sandstone and black lava on the facades.


    Following the same directions to Casalvecchio, you can reach Savoca, which is only a small distance away. It rises at 300m altitude, on a hill facing the Ionian sea, 40 km drive from the property. You have to cross the town of Santa Teresa Riva to get there.
    It is an interesting medieval village, founded by the Norman King Roger II in 1139. SavocaIt developed around the "Rock of Pentefur" , on whose top the remnants of the Saracen Castle are still visible. During the Middle-Ages Savoca was a much larger town, endowed with a fortress, wide walls, a hall for the civil officers and bailiffs, and two gates, one of which, the actual town entrance, is still existing.
    In Savoca, death was celebrated with a singular cult, where science, rituality and fanaticism melted together. On the church floor within the Capuchins' Monastery, dating back to 1164, you may find a wooden trap door leading to a few underground rooms, wrongly called Catacombs. There you can admire the balmed bodies of ancient aristocrats from Savoca. Among them are magistrates, priests and barons. Seventeen of these corpses are laid down horizontally, each one in its own niche, wearing the elegant silk suits and buckled shoes typical of their time. Unfortunately, the bodies are presently stained with green paint, as a few vandals damaged them in the Eighties. Other 5 mummies are displayed inside artistically decorated glass cases, and 12 are laid in coffins. Among them you may also find the bodies of three children.