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The foundation of the ancient Greek colony of Tauromenion, that is, Taormina, probably dates back to 358 BC. The city’s ancient past still has much evidence today. From the Odeon, a small theater of about 200 seats built in the 1st century BC, to what are improperly called Naumachie. These are the remains of a large brick building, 122 meters long and 5 meters high, which was probably used as a Gymnasium, that is, a place for games and gymnastic exercises.The most famous monument is undoubtedly the Ancient Theater. Its unique location, with a view that sweeps from the sea of the Bay of Schisò to Mount Etna, certainly makes it one of the most beautiful places in all of Sicily. Foreign interest in Taormina began in the 18th century, when Sicily and Taormina became new essential destinations on the Grand Tour. The first modern traveler to arrive was Goethe, who extolled the beauty of Taormina in his Italian Journey. From 1890 several English personalities arrived in the city who introduced the Anglo-Saxon passion for parks and gardens. The most famous ones are Lady Hill’s neo-Gothic garden in the former convent of Santa Caterina, Florence Trevelyan’s, and Robert Hawthorn Kitson’s garden at Casa Cuseni. The painter Otto Geleng and the photographer Wilhelm von Gloden contributed greatly to Taormina’s international success. The former through an exhibition in Paris of his canvases depicting the city’s scenic beauty. The second by spreading his artistic nudes made using local boys garlanded as ephebes as models around the world.


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