Taormina was a really neat town to visit with all the ancient arches, walls, balconies and flowers around town. There were so many places to look at panoramic views of the beaches below and the mountains above. There were a few plazas, churches and clock towers in the town but the most interesting sight was an ancient amphitheater. This theater was built by the ancient Greeks in 3rd century BC and then further modified by the Romans 100’s of years later. It is still used today for concerts and classical shows due to the amazing acoustics of the theater. Almost all the shops were open in this town on a Sunday which was unexpected since almost all of Messina’s shops were closed. We found a hidden restaurant down an alley where many people kept bringing out take out packages. We decided to see what was inside and found their specialty were “arancines” which are baked rice balls filled with a variety of different items. We chose an arancine filled with mozzarella and spinach (see picture). It was an amazing snack to try out from the area. Later while walking around we also decided to try out a cannoli since Sicily is where this Italian dessert specialty originated.
On our way back to Messina the taxi driver stopped off at several overlook areas so we can take some pictures. Back in Messina we were dropped off at the cathedral and viewed the nearby clock tower which had a massive mechanical clock which has many gold plated figures that go into motion when the clock rings at noon. Every 15 minutes there is a small movement by some of the figures that pull the rope to ring the bell. It is quite an amazing clock tower. We took a small break after this to communicate back home on our iphones with some wifi from a local café while we tried out Messina’s version of the wine spritzer we had tried in Venice. After our break we took a few pictures of some other Messina sights such Church of Christ the King (with a large beautiful basilica dome) and the Fountain of Neptune. Our first visit to Messina was enjoyable and we look forward to visiting this island again in the future. We watched our ship sail out of the port and it is fascinating to look across the channel to mainland Italy and see how close Sicily the mainland.