My Sicilian Obsession ~ Forza d’Agro’

When I was first planning the Sicilian leg of my most recent Italian adventure, all my Italiani were raving to me about how fantastic Sicily is, and how it is the best place in the world, the best food in the world, and how it has the best people in the world.

Now, allowing for the fact that with their sexy accents I would happily listen to them recite the phone book, front to back, all day long, I was always delighted to hear them wax lyrical about the little island at the toe of the boot.
“Cor-eeen-ahhh, you weel loff eet”

But just as Americans get passionately patriotic over the stars and bars, I assumed my Italians were just attaching an equal patriotic fervor to their fashion, their food and their Sicily. I knew I’d love the place, but had no idea how hard I would absolutely fall in love with it.
And how my Italiani have laughed at me over that one.


Forza d’Agro’, Sicily

Anyway, one of the fabulous little places I found by accident while in Sicily, was the lovely little Forza D’Agro’.
Situated on the coast between Taormina and Messina, Forza D’Agro’ is not typically found in tourist books. (which generally means I’m going to love it).

starting the day with cappuccino at Il Girasole

I only found out about it because a couple of locals were helping me plan out my day over toes-in-the-sand breakfast cappuccino.

They totally shanghai’d everything I was planning on doing, and instead came up with all kinds of fantastic places to go see, experience and eat at. (remember, Sicilians are incredibly warm, fun loving, friendly people). And they love to give you the inside scoop on the best local places to hit. No doubt owned by family members, but you are welcomed with open arms, and I adore that.

The drive along the coast from Taormina/Mazzeo/Letojanni to Forza d’Agro’ is gorgeous and easy. Which is just great because the drive up the hill is like the drive up the hill to Ravello. On acid. Super steep hairpin bends that double back on themselves, perfect if you’re fearless and if you’re driving a stick shift. By the time you’ve reached the top you have earned a robust glass of local Sicilian wine.

The Ionian from Forza d’Agro’, Sicily

With ancient buildings and stone paved lanes that are impassable by car, this little town has become the backdrop for many movies over the years, in fact you’ll recognize parts of Forza d’Agro’ from The Godfather.

Cathedral Forza d’Agro’

This entire area has such a rich and wild history, from the Sicani to the Siculi, the Greeks to the Romans, The Byzantines to the Spanish and however many others along the way, so many have come and conquered and left their mark, creating a society and a land that is just completely intriguing and complex.

Forza d’Agro’ Sicily

Forza d’Agro’ Sicily

As you can see we got all kinds of weather that day. It started out gorgeous, some rain came through briefly, and then the sun came back out.
Forza d’Agro’ is tiny and doesn’t take much time to have a good look around. There are so many lovely little towns all the way along the coast to stop and visit, all with staggering views across the Ionian Sea, amazing little local eateries, artisan stores and plenty of interesting things to see and do, most of them far from the madding crowds.

Ciao from the top of the world. Well the top of the path anyway 😉

Sicilian Obsession ~ Taormina

To say that I have become obsessed with the glorious island of Sicily would be an understatement.
I think at this point, after a life filled with international travel, Sicily may just be my absolute favorite place in the world.

Its got it all.
Spectacular beauty, mind bending historical sites, wines to die for, the best food in the world, and the loveliest, friendliest, most fun people you will ever meet.
(except at Catania airport. Those folks weren’t much fun).

One of my favorite places to visit there is beautiful Taormina.

The sun coming up over beautiful Taormina

Located between Messina and Catania on the east coast of Sicily, majestically perched up high on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, picturesque Taormina reigns supreme.
Walking through the beautiful streets of tiny Taormina you’ll rub shoulders with movie stars, musicians & jet setters, all of whom love the art, restaurants, shopping and history that envelope you.

shopping streets in Taormina

The views in any direction are breathtaking.

Taormina views

Tablet Hotels

One of the most magnificent historical sites is the Teatro Greco, thought to have been built around 750 BC, by the Greeks, (who loved to place their theaters on sites with awe inspiring views) and later added to by the Romans.

Teatro Greco by night

You can walk all through the theater which is remarkably well preserved.
During June the Taormina Film Festival is held in the theater, and throughout the year various operatic and theatrical performances are staged at this mesmerizing venue.

setting up the screen for the Taormina Film Festival at the Teatro Greco

Connected by a funicular, below Taormina are the beaches of Taormina Mare and the lovely Isola Bella, where you can stretch out in the sun on the public beaches, or lie out on sunchairs at the private lidos, and swim in the warm and intensely blue waters of the Ionian Sea.

Isola Bella, Taormina

Taormina Mare and Isola Bella

Make sure you take time to enjoy the local wines and the unbelievably fabulous local cuisine.

I can’t wait to go back….

Best Boutique Hotels in Italy at Tablet Hotels

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Beautiful Taormina, Sicily

Here on the beautiful island of Sicily, NUDE Pro Genius Treatment Oil is keeping my skin looking dewy, even though the weather is roasting hot, and I’m alternating between the drying effects of ocean water and the dehydrating effects of the wind from riding around the island on scooters and days spent sailing.
And all that lusty Sicilian wine….