Study abroad programs in Taormina, Italy:

Taormina, Sicily. Of the possible destinations for studying the Italian language in Italy, Taormina represents one of the very few possibilities in Southern Italy, by the sea and in a beautiful town full of history and culture.

Its celebrity is due to its beauty, its incredible history and architecture, and its reputation for welcoming travelers. Taormina is perfectly situated to offer students easy access to the beautiful and historically important treasures of Sicily.

Most people do not seem to realize how much Sicily has to offer. With its sun, its beige pebble and sandy beaches, its warm aqua blue water, its snow-topped volcano Mount Etna, its forests and rolling golden hills, Sicily has always been at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, and therefore, it has always been at the center of Mediterranean history.

Taormina Language CoursesThe town of Taormina is also an important archaeological location. The first Greek Colony in Italy was established in its Bay of Naxos. And the town is also home to one of the most famous Greek Theaters in the world, where the main events of the summer Film, Music, Dance and Theater International Festival of "Taormina Arte" are held. There are also many more important monuments in town, from the Greek period to Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Spanish, French, Baroque, etc. With a strong vocation for tourism, Taormina offers many opportunities in the way of hotels, restaurants, bars, discos, entertainment and sports (windsurfing, scuba diving, mountain-biking, canyoning, rafting, tennis and golf).

Main sights

The present town of Taormina occupies the ancient site, on a lofty hill which forms the last projecting point of the mountain ridge that extends along the coast from Cape Pelorus to this point. The site of the old town is about 300 m above the sea, while a very steep and almost isolated rock, crowned by a Saracen castle, rises about 150 m higher: this is undoubtedly the site of the ancient Arx or citadel, the inaccessible position of which is repeatedly alluded to by ancient writers. Portions of the ancient walls may be traced at intervals all round the brow of the hill, the whole of the summit of which was evidently occupied by the ancient city.

Taormina Language CoursesNumerous fragments of ancient buildings are scattered over its whole surface, including extensive reservoirs of water, sepulchres, tesselated pavements, etc., and the remains of a spacious edifice, commonly called a Naumachia, but the real destination of which it is difficult to determine. But by far the most remarkable monument remaining at Taormina is the ancient theatre (the teatro greco, or "Greek theatre"), which is one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily, on account both of its remarkable preservation and of the surpassing beauty of its situation.

It is built for the most part of brick, and is therefore probably of Roman date, though the plan and arrangement are in accordance with those of Greek, rather than Roman, theatres; whence it is supposed that the present structure was rebuilt upon the foundations of an older theatre of the Greek period. With a diameter of 109 metres (after an expansion in the 2nd century), this theatre is the second largest of its kind in Sicily (after that of Syracuse); it is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances and for concerts.

The greater part of the original seats have disappeared, but the wall which surrounded the whole cavea is preserved, and the proscenium with the back wall of the scena and its appendages, of which only traces remain in most ancient theatres, are here preserved in singular integrity, and contribute much to the picturesque effect, as well as to the interest, of the ruin. From the fragments of architectural decorations still extant we learn that it was of the Corinthian order, and richly ornamented. Some portions of a temple are also visible, converted into the church of San Pancrazio, but the edifice is of small size.

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