Taormina is a town of 10,863 inhabitants in the province of Messina.

On the origin of Taormina (Tauromenion, Tauromenium) many are the news, but uncertain for documentation and unreliable.

Diodorus of Sicily in the 14th book attests that the Sicilians lived in the fortress of Taormina, living from agriculture and cattle ranching, even before the landing of the Greeks of Halkida in Evia Bay of Taormina (832 BC), where the mouth of the river Alcantara, founded Naxos (Giardini Naxos today), the first Greek colony in Sicily. Dionysius of Syracuse, of Doric origin, tolerated for a while 'the presence of the Ionic of Halkida in Evia Naxos but then moves against them that were placed in the Monte Tauro, they lived the Sicilians along with other Ionic that were previously there settled by Naxos.

But in the years of XCVI Olympiad (396 BC) the nassioti masse, threatened by Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, moved to Tauromenion, driven by Imilcone, leader of the Carthaginians, ally against Doric Ionic, because the hill was considered to be fortified for nature. Wanting the tyrant of Syracuse recover through the violence of Tauromenitani territory, they replied that belonged rightfully theirs because their Greek ancestors they had already taken possession before themselves, driving out the local inhabitants.

Vito Amico says that the above version of the origins of Taormina provided by Diodorus is contradicted in the 16th book, when he says that Andromache, after the massacre of Naxos 403 BC, the survivors gathered convinces them to settle in 358 BC on the slopes of the nearby hill "the shape of a bull", and as a result the nascent town was named Tauromenion, a name composed of Toro and the Greek form menein, which means staying.

While the news provided by Cluverio agree with the second version of Diodorus, Strabo says that Taormina to have originated from Zanclei and Nassi. This would clarify somehow the assertion of Pliny who states that Taormina was originally called Naxos.

Witness Diodorus of Sicily, Taormina, wisely ruled by Andromache, progresses, glorying in opulence and power. In 345 Timoleon from Corinth, arrives and reaches Tauromenium, ask for military support in order to uphold the freedom of Syracuse.

Later we find Taormina under the rule of the tyrant of Syracuse Agathocles, who orders the massacre of many illustrious men of the city and sent into exile the same Timaeus, son of Andromache. Years later underlies Tindarione and then Gerone, also Syracusan tyrants.

Taormina remains under Syracuse until Rome in 212 BC, does not represent the whole of Sicily Roman province. Its inhabitants are considered allies of the Romans and Cicero, in the second oration against Verres, it mentions that the City is one of the three Civitates foederataee the nomination "Urbs Notabilis". Consequently it touches to its inhabitants pay tithes or arming ships and sailors in case of need.
Panorama from the greek theater of Taormina
Panorama from the greek theater of Taormina
The greek theater stage
The greek theater stage
The stands of the greek theater
The stands of the greek theater

During the Servile War (134-132 BC) Tauromenium is occupied by the insurgent slaves, who choose it as safe stronghold. Besieged by Pompilio, last long even they are enduring hunger and yielding only when one of their leaders, Serapion, betraying comrades, lets take the stronghold.

In 36 BC during the war between Octavian and Sextus Pompey, the troops of the latter landed in Naxos to retake the city in Sesto Pompeo who has previously occupied. To repopulate Tauromenium, after the damage suffered in the war, but also to garrison Octavian became Augustus in 21 BC send a colony of Romans, loyal to him, and at the same time expels the people against him.

Strabo speaks of Tauromenion as a small town, less than Messana and Catana. Pliny and Ptolemy to mind the Roman colony conditions.

Advent of Christianity and the Middle Ages [edit]

With the advent of Christianity, St. Peter allocates at Taormina Pancrazio Bishop, who had already worked his work of conversion in the region which built the first church on the slopes of Taormina dedicated to St. Peter by establishing the seat of the first bishopric in Sicily. Bishops "prestantissimi for sanctity of manners, zeal and doctrine," writes Vito Amico, to succeed until the age Araba. There is little information at this time, which includes the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 447 A.D., the Gothic invasion, the presence of the Byzantines, the Arab conquest.

What is certain is that Taormina occupies an important strategic position for the military held the surrounding area, for 62 years was the last strip of land of the Eastern Roman Empire along with Rometta and again resisted the assaults of the Saracens (thanks to the springs drinking water, the tanks and the underground aqueducts), since when after a long siege lasted two years, the night of Christmas of 906 AD, through the treachery of a mercenary Messina that Balsamo, was taken and totally destroyed.

Her male inhabitants were all beheaded as the Bishop of Taormina, San Procopio, whose head was brought on a platter the head of Ibrahim Saracen troops (which is even headed a street of Taormina). The most beautiful girls were brought to the Caliph of Al Karaujan Moezzin and others were enslaved. The few survivors fled into the surrounding mountains. The city was rebuilt in the south, where ended the Greek-Roman destroyed by the Saracens, and for almost two centuries lived in harmony and tolerance between Arabs and Christians. The Arabs adornandorla embellished with beautiful gardens and fountains and renamed it as the Almoezia by Caliph Al Moezzin.

The city takes possession of the Great Count Roger, who stormed Castronovo turns to the conquest of Valdemone, laying siege to the city, through the construction of twenty-two forts in timber: trunks and branches form an insurmountable wall; nevertheless the Saracens resisted for a long time before capitulating in 1078.

Taormina City becomes Demaniale, including in the Diocese before Troina and then Messina, when the bishopric was transferred here.

It follows the story of Sicily, under the Swabians and then under the Aragonese. In 1410 the Sicilian Parliament, one of the oldest in Europe, held in Taormina its historic session, the Corvaja Palace in the presence of Queen Blanche of Navarre, for the election of the king of Sicily, after the death of Martin II.

In the seventeenth century Philip IV of Spain granted the privilege that belongs to the Crown City permanently.

In 1675 it was besieged by the French, occupying Messina. The glorious history draws to its decline. The French of Casa D'Orleans do not consider major city. The Anjou will abolish the privileges godeva.Con the occupation of the Napoleonic troops of Naples and the South and with the transfer of the Bourbon Royal Palace in Palermo, King Ferdinand I of Sicily wanted to thank Taormina for his loyalty to the Bourbons against the French and King Ferdinand in official visit to the faithful Taormina, in recognition donated to the mayor of the Pancrazio Cypriots Isola Bella.

The Bourbons, made it easier to access the city, which since Roman times occurred from the narrow Consular Valeria that climbed into the hills, cutting off the promontory of Catrabico thus realizing a coastal road that easily conjoined Messina to Catania and realizing, after the Napoli-Portici, the second of Regno.Che railway as such (for single track remained until our own day!).

By many European nations and famous writers and artists (Goethe, Maupassant, Rouel and others) he manifested an interest in the amenity of the place and from its archaeological beauties. Taormina from now on will grow, becoming a place of residence of the elite tourism, initially coming mainly from England as Lady Florence Trevelyan, daughter of Baron Spencer Trevelyan and whose paternal grandmother was Lady Maria Wilson a first cousin of Queen Victoria, whose Florence Court had grown up surrounded by dogs who adored as the "aunt Vittoria" which, however, her puritan, to prevent a scandal at court, forced her into exile with a rich annuity, for his relationship with his son, King Edward VII who was married to the austere Alexandra of Denmark and decided to live in Taormina where she married the wealthy philanthropist Salvatore Cacciola, mayor of Taormina and friend of the Duke of Kent.

modern Age

Lady Florence Trevelyan bought by Mayor Pancrazio Cypriots Isola Bella and bought 82 old huts of fishermen and land plots which overthrew to achieve the beautiful garden which, after his death, became the Public Garden of Taormina with the characteristic buildings inspired by his travels in the far East, he helped the La Floresta to expand the first hotel in Taormina, Hotel Timeo; Also from England came the King Edward VII (after two years, however, the death of his mother Queen Victoria in 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908) and Germany people like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who cited Taormina in his Travels in Italy (Italienische Reise), Baron photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden, the painter Otto Geleng, Nietzsche (since 1882) who wrote Thus spake Zarathustra, Richard Wagner, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (1896-1897-1904, 1908), Oscar Wilde Tsar Nicholas I, Ignazio Florio and Franca Florio, "the star of Italy" as he called the Kaiser and friend of Trevelyan, Gabriele d'Annunzio, Klimt, Freud, De Amicis and bankers, tycoons, aristocrats around the world . [1]

Taormina soon became famous all over the world both for its natural scenery beauty, for its colorful landscapes, for snowy and smoking Etna paintings that declines until the turquoise sea and went around the world, but also for its permissiveness, for his "transgression", for its "learned circles", to the "myth of Arcadia", for his unbridled "sweet life."

contemporary Age

"Madmen in Taormina" writer Catania Massimo Similar [2] describes a time when not a day passed in Taormina, not something to happen "neutral" with its whimsical and famous patrons. What it was allowed in Taormina created scandal even in the "International" Capri where, for example, the German Krupp gun dealer had tried unsuccessfully to recreate the "coteries taorminesi" where local youths and maidens were at the center of the "scene." Krupp in Capri was overwhelmed by the scandal and a few days later committed suicide in shame in Bremen.

Many hotels were built all run by families of Taormina. The village of fishermen and farmers and wealthy bourgeois turned into a land of traders, hoteliers, builders. During World War II it was the seat of the German Wehrmacht Command that on July 9, 1943, the day of the patron Saint Pancrazio, Taormina suffered two devastating Allied bombing that destroyed part of the south and even a wing of the famous hotel in San Domenico which he was pending a meeting of the German high command.

Being an international tourist city many British spies during fascism were well camouflaged and they went out to the Allied troops as they entered. After the war Taormina was enlarged without altering its natural beauty and until 1968 was a purely winter tourist resort for rich and individual tourism, so much so that the best hotels opened in October and closed in June and was frequented by famous writers such as Roger Peyrefitte, Truman Capote, Andre Gide, LHLawrence, noble (Juliana of the Netherlands), the royal family of Sweden and Denmark, the President of Finland Urho Kekkonen from renowned artists like Soraya, Ava Gardner, Romy Schneider, who They even became friends with some fascinating play boys of the place, as well as Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Dino Grandi, Willy Brandt, Greta Garbo, wintering for months in Taormina hotels passing his days, but especially the nights in nightclubs typical of the time and continuing, thus, the sweet life began with the Belle Epoque.

meeting center for all (artists, nobles, playboy, writers, curious characters) was the Cafe Concert "Mocambo" oestrus Robertino Fichera. Robertino, with his friends Chico Scimone and Dino Papale (depicted all three in the front row) would be represented in a mural that he painted in the living room of his famous Cafe to remain "immortal" sitting next to Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, those who were the real protagonists of the great theater of Taormina that is the humanity "alive", made up of boys play, artists and "madmen" who "created" every day "sweet life" of Taormina. "Let the party begin" is the title of the murals. But the party was about to end, and also the earthly life of Robertino!

In 1968, it happened the earthquake of Belice that made fear for the repercussions it could have on tourism to some taorminesi tour operators who hastily moved toward mass tourism making contracts with major European tours operators. Taormina thus rapidly transformed. Hotels "sold" the rooms in annual contract to big tours operators of mass tourism renouncing individual classic tourism which until then had made him rich and famous Taormina with a very high-class and prestige cut.

With mass tourism, the town expanded into the adjacent green areas, was quickly and messily cementified, were born new hotels and many new businesses and as the people of Taormina you did not want to devote to menial jobs, there was a dall'arretrato Sicilian hinterland invasion of people poor of different cultures in search of fortune, which in a short time, recalled in Taormina friends and family that you improvised hoteliers, restaurateurs, retailers.

Taormina became, in a short time, a seaside resort for mass tourism, an impoverished noble.

Hotels now closed in November to re-open at Easter. It was the collapse of almost all the ancient Taormina hoteliers families who were unable to adapt to new times and in a few years they lost their hotels that were purchased by the company came from outside that aimed more to the financial statements that the quality of services.

Hotels were not the second luxury homes of the travelers who were welcomed with great kindness by the owners and with whom you familiarizzava, we conversed and took the tea ... but they were the anonymous hotels with anonymous clients like many around the world. It was a revolution even in traditional social economic fabric of Taormina because of the many immigrants arrived in Taormina in search of fortune, who not only gave rise to speculation, having the need to build houses for them, for friends and relatives, but also they settled in the city's power structures.

It was also the end of the sweet life of Taormina, whose protagonists were many extroverted personalities of the Sicilian aristocracy and some fascinating play local boy who, between the sweetness of the nature of Taormina, famous entertained tourists and not, getting them to come back several times each year in Taormina, just as it happened to the dawn of the century with Geleng and Von Gloeden.

Taormina was, therefore, "depersonalized", lost its "identity" of the city of artists and "crazy" in which everyone could live as he could not in your city and Taormina in danger of dying because of "provincialism" of the many immigrants who Taormina had come to seek their fortune and, having found it and having also enriched had soon occupied the posts of distorting power, so the city that lost its identity and was invaded by concrete, like many other famous tourist town and this also because of tourism "hit and run" beloved by a category of daring merchants.

Was lost above the '' identity 'of Taormina hospitable and also caught because the old town was emptied as many taorminesi svendevano their old houses and in their place arose many second and third homes for vacationers of the province, since when, at the beginning of the third millennium, some entrepreneurs have begun to re-create the great luxury hotels, maisons de charm, which are open all year, have in a short time, did you that Taormina is again a tourist city of international renown, elegant, with a parlor (Corso Umberto I) where there are great shopping opportunities with the world's major brands and in which, thanks to the many prestigious cultural events, one for all Taormina Arte, there is a tourist season that lasts throughout the year with the peaks in August and minimum in January-February and that includes both luxury clientele, is a mass tourism (summer) medium-high.

There are numerous events and events that every year especially in summer, are made in Taormina. Exceptional setting of concerts (classical and popular music), plays, operas, great evenings of entertainment often from broadcasters (the ceremony for the delivery of the Silver Ribbons, Festivalbar, the Kore, just to name a few ) it is the Ancient Theatre. Since 1983, the most significant events, are made as part of Taormina Arte, the cultural institution that takes care of the organization of the festival of music, theater and dance, considered among the most important on the national scene. When programming also includes the Taormina Arte Taormina Film Fest, the Taormina Film Festival, heir to the film review of Messina and Taormina, founded in 1960, which for two decades housed the David di Donatello with the participation of the most famous celebrities . As part of the Film Festival are delivered, the ancient theater, the prestigious Nastri d'Argento awards from film critics. Since 2005, Taormina Arte, organized in October, the Giuseppe Sinopoli Festival, dedicated to the great conductor, who died in 2001, for years the artistic director of Taormina Arte.

Source: Wikipedia

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