Splendors of Sicily – Isola Bella

Our final day in Sicily dawns clear with stunning views of Mt. Etna from our hotel. After breakfast a few clouds begin to move toward the summit, and Etna joins us in emitting a satisfied belch.

A tiny eruption from Mt. Etna after breakfast this morning.

Our day is completely free to enjoy Taormina. Several of us opt to make the hike down to the beach so we can say we’ve touched the Mediterranean on this tour. After a short walk we reach a viewpoint where we can see down to Isola Bella.

Isola Bella as seen from Taormina.
History of Isola Bella, badly translated from the original Italian

From the overlook, our group splits and some take the funicular down to the beach while the rest of us take the stairs, winding through houses built on the hillside.

Stairs down to the beach from Taormina
Old sea wall at the bay near Isola Bella
Isola Bella is reached by crossing a rocky spit from the mainland to the Island
There are plenty of sights to cause you to trip along the way
You really have to watch your footing!
It is a bit chilly still, and not many people get into the water
Once on the island we pay an entry fee to explore the ruins of the old estates that were here
One exhibit shows the celebrities that regularly came to Taormina in the era when Isola Bella was occupied
View of the mainland from Isola Bella
OK – so we can’t be accused of discrimination, here is a gratuitous shot of a female paddle-boarder as seen from Isola Bella. Is she into bondage?
Heading back to the mainland from the island, we find Hank posing as a perfect stand-in for Poseidon, King of the Seas!

The group settles seaside for some lunch, while Jon, our guide, and I decide to climb the long staircase back up to Taormina. I have a few last-minute shopping chores before our farewell festivities tonight.

We gather for a farewell toast at the hotel’s terrace bar
You will never meet a finer group of gentlemen, who bonded as a family during our Sicily adventure
Our farewell dinner tonight is up these steps along the narrowest street in the world. A broad man would have to turn sideways!
Restaurant for our farewell dinner
Returning to the hotel after dinner, enjoying one last gelato along the way, we are arrested by a figurine for sale in a window along the main street of Taormina. A fitting final image of our amazing tour in Sicily!

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