CASTELMOLANatural balcony over Taormina, Castelmola is the dizziness of vision: enter his field of vision, in a blaze of prickly pears, the majestic Etna with countries clinging to its slopes, the Ionian coast, the Gulf of Giardini-Naxos, the Capo S. Alessio, the Strait of Messina and the Calabrian coast. You never want to get off this sunny lookout: watchful eye on the sea, his back to the mountain, the heart inside a ruined castle. Beyond the ancient shade of the almond trees, is the entrance to the village, perched on top of endless switchbacks. With its narrow streets that intersect es’incontrano in the main square, immediately reveals the medieval settlement. Doors and windows are framed in Taormina stone, the colors of the houses vary from yellow to beige and pink, the pitched roofs are still covered with “Sicilian”, street furniture is nice, place names, house numbers and signs are made of stone and wrought iron. Lapses here and there, especially the “historical” as the ugly houses the ’60s and ’70s that surround the center, but the effort is not to deface, and it shows. The ancient arch that marks the entrance to the village remained isolated after the construction of Piazza S. Agostino in 1954; the limestone steps on which it stands enhances the beauty. The square is paved in white lava stone, returns the Sicilian atmosphere with its tree-lined sidewalks are placed with stone benches and belvedere from which the sweeping views of Taormina. At one time it entered the country through a door carved into the rock with a monumental staircase also in white lava stone, moved to the castle in 1927, in the course of work on the construction of the road to Taormina. The church of St. Antoninus, into a municipal auditorium, is actually very old and overlooks the square next to an ugly building (pharmacy and tourist information office) that breaks the continuity of the House Sterrantino, has a wonderful site. On the same square is the historic Caffè San Giorgio, founded in 700 by monks and used as a tavern. An album collecting the signatures of famous people who since 1907 have gone to the village. The castle-fortress that remain of the mighty Norman walls. A marble plaque on the facade of the cathedral with Byzantine-greek of the tenth century. Remember: “This castle was built under Constantine, a patrician of Sicily and strategist.” This should be Caramalo Constantine, the last of Taormina strategist, who in the ninth century. Prepared the defense against the Arabs. On top of the arch of the front door of the castle, is the inscription: “Castle loyal to His Majesty – the year 1578.” And ‘certain in any case the importance of Mola fortress in the Middle Ages and in the wars between the French and the Spanish. Coming down from the rock, one comes in via De Gasperi, the town’s main street, which connects Piazza S. Antonino with the south. Along the way the shops selling souvenirs Sicilian lace and embroidery of local women. Bar Turrisi nonchalantly its fouls in wood and ceramic, in an environment that seems to be the kingdom of men, the legacy of Magna Grecian beliefs that only here, perhaps, resist. You will arrive in Piazza Duomo to see the Cathedral Church, which in 1934 held the previous forms of new styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic. Inside there are four marble altars facing each other, a handsome pulpit, a wooden statue of Mary Magdalene’s school Bagnasco. The main entrance is on the side of the square and overlooks a viewpoint from which you can admire Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos. On the shortcut in Taormina meets the little square with the small church of San Biagio, simple and humble, the first built in Castelmola after the arrival of St. Pancras in Taormina to bring the Christian religion. The barrel vault and elevations are the result of a recent restoration. Inside is an eighteenth-century fresco, outside the usual beautiful landscape. Also worth seeing is the water tanks of 367 BC and the ancient port Saracens on long pedestrian path called Via dei Saraceni or Plan Ficare – a name that comes from the presence of figs and prickly pears, and where the many stones that form the walls of the embankments have been part of in the past a house or an old bastion. The steps of the Plan Ficare were recently recovered.
Around the country ends with the Church of St. George, which was built around 1450 and particularly admired for its bell; also notable the entrance gate of wrought iron. In Contrada Annunziata is the church of the Annunciation, built in about 1100. By the Norman King Roger to thank Our Lady for the victory over the Saracens.