After a short break, I am back to share some photos and my experience from my visit to Taormina, perhaps the most perfect little town in Italy. Taormina is located on the top of a hill that overlooks Giardini-Naxos. My family and I took a short bus ride that somehow manages to make the twisty, narrow turns up the hill, to the top where a short walk will take you into the cobbled streets of Taormina. We visited in the summer of 2012, and it was packed with tourists. While the ships dock in Giardini, the tourists flock up to Taormina where its historical buildings, touristy shops and superb view that casts a shadow over Giardini’s many assets. Take a look at a few pictures and read some historical facts below:

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After strolling through the shops and streets, you can take a little cable car down to Isola Bella, a nature reserve with stunning beaches, that you have to pay to visit.

taormina11taormina12taormina8taormina3The views going up from Giardini with the bus and back down are also stunning:

taormina6On a second trip to Taormina within the same week, my mother and I went exploring through Taormina’s cemeteries to see if we could find any of our ancestors. I only could assume that Giuseppe and Giuseppa Sulfaro were born and died in Taormina at that point. They actually were born in Curcuraci, Messina and died in Giardini. (Although we never found their final resting places, probably because they have since been built over.)

A Few Interesting Facts

Taormina is actually older than Giardini-Naxos. The area surrounding the present-day Taormina was inhabited by the Siculi, an Italic tribe, in the Iron Age, before the Greeks arrived on the Sicilian coast in 734 BC to found Naxos. It was originally called “Tauromenion”. As with all of Sicily, Taormina was inhabited by many different cultures over its existence. 

During the 19th century, Taormina became a popular tourist resort. Some famous visitors included: Oscar Wilde, Nicholas I of Russia, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Nietzsche, Richard Wagner and many others.

Ancestors who lived in Taormina

Of all my ancestors it seems that only the Sterrantino’s came from Taormina, although I am sure the many ancestors who migrated to Giardini made trips to Taormina. Rosario Sterrantino, born on November 3rd, 1822 in Taormina was baptised in the parish of Taormina Abbate Castorina. (I have made several searches for this place but haven’t been able to find anything.) Please click on the image below to see a larger version of Rosario Sterrantino’s birth record.

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Rosario Sterrantino is my great-great-great grandfather. The line goes like this Me > Mother > Giuseppe Sulfaro > Gaetana Sterrantino > Pasquale Sterrantino > Rosario Sterrantino.

Rosario’s father was Pasquale Sterrantino. I assume he was born in Taormina also but I do not have any records to prove this. Rosario’s mother was Giuseppa Lo Giudice. She was born in Taormina and died in Giardini. Rosario also died in Giardini, on the 12th of December 1872. He left behind his wife Angela Casabianca and 5 known living children.