This mountaintop vista is a work of art, featuring village rooftops, the Ionian Sea and a Greek amphitheater. Visit the sanctuary on the way to the castle at the top.
The summit of Monte Tauro rises high above the quaint village of Taormina, offering stunning views of its historic buildings and the Ionian Sea. Topped by a Saracen castle and a religious sanctuary, the hill provides a scenic and informative hike. Walk leisurely up the steep trail with your family and bring along treats for a picnic at its mossy peak.
Begin your ascent near the Italian Opera Taormina in the center of the town. Amble along the side of a narrow road, flanked by stone walls and vegetation. On the left, you’ll encounter a steep set of steps with a sign indicating “Castello di Monte Tauro,” in reference to the 12th-century Saracen castle at the summit.
Gaze up at the mountain peak ahead as you reach the top of the stairs. Continue at an incline on a red zigzagging path that leads to the quaint Santuario Madonna della Rocca. This 17th-century chapel is nestled within a grotto. Hear the legend surrounding the cave, where some say the Baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd sheltering from a storm. Enjoy spectacular views from the chapel’s clifftop terrace.
Climb up the steps from the sanctuary to the top of the hill, which is 1,152 feet (351 meters) above sea level. Admire the remains of the Castello di Taormina, which has survived many centuries perched atop Monte Tauro. A Greek acropolis once stood here. Spot the crumbling Teatro Greco among the village’s historic landmarks.
Because the climb up Monte Tauro is quite steep, it is advised not to make the journey in the middle of summer. At all other times, make sure to bring water and a hat for the hike, which is free to access. Note that the castle itself is not open to the public, but the vista is the main attraction.
Climb up the signposted path from the heart of Taormina for about 20 minutes to reach the peak of Monte Tauro. Find several highlights near the starting point, including the Palazzo Ciampoli, the Duomo di Taormina and the Porta Catania.