Castle of Monte Tauro

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The Castle of Monte Tauro is one of the defensive fortifications of the ancient city of Taormina. Due to its dominant position, it had, together with the Castle of Castelmola, a fundamental function in the defense of the territory. From the castle you can admire a truly breathtaking panorama that includes Mount Etna, the Strait of Messina and Catania.

The history of Monte Tauro Castle

The Castle of Monte Tauro is an ancient defensive fortress of Taormina. There is little information available, but according to tradition it was built by the Arabs in the 10th century, which is why it is also known as the Saracen castle. The other name, however, is due to its location on Mount Tauro, which rises almost 400 meters above sea level. In the area where the castle stands today, there was the lower acropolis of the ancient city of Tauromenion, while the upper acropolis corresponded to today’s Castelmola. It was rebuilt between the 13th and 14th centuries, after the arrival of the Normans and the Swabians, further restorations and modifications are also witnessed in the following century.

The architecture of the Saracen castle of Taormina

The castle had a trapezoidal shape with a grandiose keep. The remaining parts of the walls have no windows or loopholes and are about four meters high. In the inner parts, however, they have a height of about one meter, probably due to collapses. Of the original structure there are still traces of some staircases leading to the walls, some cisterns for collecting rainwater and an underground corridor used to store weapons and food.

How to get to Monte Tauro Castle

There are two different ways to reach Monte Tauro Castle. The first, more convenient, is to rely on public transportation. From Piazza San Pancrazio, which is outside the walls and near Porta Messina, buses go to the foot of the castle, where there is the church of Madonna della Rocca. From here you can take the stairs to the castle. Alternatively, there is a staircase that starts from Via Circonvallazione and leads to the Church of Madonna della Rocca. The last part of the stairs is not really avoidable.

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