Encapsulating all of the romance of coastal Sicily, Taormina is a magical community set high on a hill overlooking the blue sea. It’s a taste of the Italy of old, with winding cobbled streets and crumbling buildings crowned with flourishes of colourful flowers. But the jewel in its crown is its Greek theatre; while it dates from the third century BC, it’s still very much intact, holding up to 5,000 people for theatre and concerts. Grab a homemade gelato on your way up and take a stone seat to admire the view for a while.
San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel
A former Dominican monastery, this 15th-century palazzo has been converted into a hotel, with views of the Mediterranean Sea, Mount Etna and its lush gardens. The double Michelin-starred Principe Cerami restaurant, serving exquisite Sicilian menus curated by Etna-born chef Massimo Mantarro, enjoys a romantic setting and is a real highlight of any stay here. Further amenities include a bar and a lounge, a large outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a spa offering treatments using organic products. The San Domenico Palace is within walking distance from the historic centre.
Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare
Over a century old, this elaborate and effortlessly classy villa first belonged to a Cornish native. Found in the seaside suburb of Taormina, it has direct access to a private beach and charming views from the wrought iron balconies. Inside you’ll find Baroque artwork, marble staircases and room scents by Ortigia. There’s a kids club and programme of themed activities for the bambinos, watersports onsite, a spa and a terrace restaurant. Guests also have access to its sister hotel, the Grand Hotel Timeo, in Taormina itself (a free shuttle bus will whisk you there in moments).