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Itinerary Boat Ride

By Sicily Holidays in : Itineraries, Taormina // May 10 2010

From Porta Messina we cover a short length of Via Pirandello and in a few minutes arrive at the cable car to quickly reach the baia (bay) di Mazzarò, a delightful cove between the Baia di S. Nicola and the Baia di Isola Bella.

pizzu cardiddu

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At the beach we wait for Tano, a fisherman with his multi-coloured boat with whom we can admire all the coast. The day is wonderful and we are lit by a sun which is hot and golden. The sea is lightly choppy but a clear blue beyond description. From the sea the Baia seems to be framed by both great trees and the lidos, which welcome happy tourists.

Following the cape of Castelluccio, which separates the Baia di Mazzarò from Spisone we see the rocky crest of “Zu Innaru” rock and head towards the Baia di San Nicolo where people believe the old Roman door was once located. The small bay is also known as Baia delle Sirene perhaps remembering the legendary Homerica.

Turning back and going past the “Scogghiu’ a longa” we head towards Capo (Cape) S. Andrea, sailing along the headland which separates the Isola Bella. Here the rock drops away into the sea and is characterized by its numerous splits caused by continuous sea water erosion. Between this is the “Grotta (cave) Amato” with its narrow and dangerous entrance. A legend says that it was the hiding place of two lovers who could not find their way out and were transformed into lovebirds, birds that still today nest on these rocks.

Going past “I laghetti” and “Pizzu Cardiddu” we come across the “Grotta Azzurra”, which is made more beautiful by flashes of light that come from the sea thanks to an underwater passage that allows the light to create magical reflections. This cave is also permanently inhabitated by bat colonies.

We then enter the Baia di Isola Bella, today a natural reserve which impressed Goethe and all the travellers of the Grand Tour who from the end of the 19th Century onwards were in love with Taormina. This included the Prussian baron Wilhielm Von Gloeden who immortalized the panorama of Taormina and the island in his famous photograph. The local story says that the island was given to the city of Taormina by Ferdinando di Borbone in 1806 and became the property of Lady Florence Trevelian Cacciola. At the death of her husband she sold it to the heirs of Lo Turco who resold it soon afterwards to the Bosurgi family. The family subsequently maintained the island until it was acquired by the Regione Siciliana in 1990. The island is nothing but a great rock connected to the mainland by a walkway which disappears with the high tide but this simple rock creates a unique spectacle of beauty and harmony in the bay.

Going past the rest of the bay we head towards the Capo Taormina where another small low cave attracts our attention called “La grotto degli innamorati” (lovers cave). Crossing the bottleneck of the sea positioned between the “Capo” and “Scoglio del Capo”we see the iron cross which has been placed in remembrance of the numerous shipwrecks. The sun powerfully illuminates the “Grotta del Giorno” thus called because it is the only cave whose inside is always lit. Finally in front of us is the spectacular stretch of sea of Baia di Taormina- Giardini dominated by a breathtaking snow-topped Etna. On viewing this sight it is easy to understand why the first Greek colonists of Sicily in the eighth-century chose this place to construct the ancient city of Naxos.

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