One of Taormina’s most spectacular sights is its 2nd-century Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco), which, despite its name, is actually an ancient Roman amphitheater built in the Greek style. Sitting high above the coast, the theater has beautiful views over Taormina, the Sicilian coastline, and Mount Etna.
The original structure of Taormina’s Greek Theater dates from the 3rd century BC—though it was renovated in brick by the Romans based on the Greek Corinthian design 500 years later—and could once seat over 5,000 spectators. The theater is the second-largest in Sicily (after the Greek Theater in Syracuse), and the stage’s original rear wall and wings are miraculously intact. The theater, which is still used as a venue for concerts and performances, has impeccable acoustics and memorable views.
Because of its archaeological and historical importance, it's best to visit the Greek Theater with a guide as part of a Taormina sightseeing tour. Many day trips and shore excursions to Taormina depart from Syracuse, Messina, or Catania. You can also combine a tour of Taormina and the Greek Theater with visits to the nearby town of Castelmola and the peak of Mount Etna.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Greek Theater is not accessible to wheelchairs.
- On concert and performance nights in summer, the theater may close early.
- A theater tour is particularly interesting for archaeology buffs.
- The theater is outdoors, so be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen.
How to Get There
The Greek Theater, located just outside the center of Taormina, is an easy walk from the town. Taormina is a popular day trip from the larger Sicilian towns of Messina, Syracuse, and Catania.
When to Get There
The open-air theater can get uncomfortably hot under the Sicilian sun in summer, so plan to visit first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon. The Teatro Greco may close earlier than usual on days when performances are scheduled.
Isola Bella, The Beautiful Island
One of Taormina’s other popular attractions is Isola Bella, a tiny rocky outcrop off the Lido Mazzaro beach that’s connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand. This picturesque point, which was gifted to Taormina in 1806 by the King of Sicily, is now a nature reserve.