For a respite from the heat and crowds of Taormina, retreat to the lush confines of the 19th-century English-style gardens of the Parco Duca di Cesarò, also known as the Villa Comunale. Unwind surrounded by colorful tropical plants and flowers, explore the tower and gazebo, and take in the view over the sea from the terrace balustrade.
Created by the Scottish noblewoman Lady Florence Trevelyan in the late 1800s, these formerly private gardens were opened to the public in 1922, and the estate remains the most beautiful park in Taormina. In addition to the wide variety of local flora, the garden grounds are home to a number of delightful fountains and ornamental “Victorian follies”, whimsical towers or pavilions that punctuated many gardens in the 19th century. Once you’ve explored the highlights of Taormina’s old town with a walking or Segway tour, the shaded paths, quiet lawns, and scenic overlook of Villa Comunale beckon as an ideal spot to relax. Take a day trip or shore excursion from Catania, Messina, or Syracuse to Taormina, combining a visit with stops in the nearby town of Castelmola or the volcanic peak of Mt. Etna.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring your camera to photograph the splendid views from the scenic overlook at the Villa Comunale gardens.
- Located just off Taormina’s main road, you can easily tuck into the gardens to regroup while sightseeing and souvenir shopping.
- The gardens have a play area for children, so are ideal as a break for families
- Parts of the gardens are accessible to wheelchairs via gravel and paved paths.
- Be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen when relaxing in these outdoor gardens.
How to Get There
The gardens of Villa Comunale are located just off the main Corso Umberto I in the center of Taormina, and can be reached from the train station in the valley below by bus.
When to Get There
With towering trees and lush magnolias, hibiscus, and bougainvillea, these shady gardens are a welcome relief from Sicily’s midday heat. Shutterbugs may want to visit in the early morning or late afternoon for the best light to capture the view.
The Scandalous History of the Gardens
The Villa Comunale isn’t necessarily the sort of park you’d expect in Sicily, as it’s more of an English-style garden, created by a Scottish woman who lived in Taormina in the late 1800s. Lady Florence Trevelyan was asked to leave England in the 1880s after having a fairly public affair with the future King Edward VII. She eventually married a man in Taormina and began work on her gardens.
- Taormina Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco)
- Corvaja Palace (Palazzo Corvaja)
- Taormina Roman Odeon
- Piazza IX Aprile
- Corso Umberto I
- Santa Caterina Church (Chiesa di Santa Caterina)
- Taormina Old Town (Centro Storico)
- Taormina Cable Car (Funivia)
- Taormina Cathedral (Duomo) and Piazza del Duomo
- Taormina Piazza Duomo
- Mazzarò Beach (Lido Mazzarò)
- Taormina Cruise Port (Taormina Terminal Crociere)
- Alcantara Gorges (Gole dell'Alcantara)
- Circumetnea Railway (Ferrovia Circumetnea)