Church of Madonna della Rocca (Taormina)

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The Church of the Madonna della Rocca is one of the most fascinating places in Taormina. It is located at the foot of the castle of Monte Tauro, in one of the most spectacular views of the whole city. The church is completely dug into the rock and its history is linked to a mysterious legend.

The history of the Church of Madonna della Rocca in Taormina

The Church of the Madonna della Rocca is located in the upper part of Taormina at the foot of the Castle of Monte Tauro. Its construction dates back to the 12th century and was later restored in the 1600s. The church is so called because it is entirely dug into the rock and once included a small monastery of the Basilian Order, now abandoned. In a clearing in front of the church is a large concrete cross erected in 1930 during a mission by the Redemptorist Fathers. Every year, on the third Sunday of September, the feast of Our Lady of the Rock is celebrated and the statue of Our Lady, kept in the church, is carried in procession by the faithful.

The legend of the Madonna of the Rock

The history of the church of the Madonna della Rocca is linked to a legend that has been handed down through the centuries. It seems that a young shepherd from the nearby village of Castelmola was surprised by a storm while tending his sheep. He decided to take shelter in a cave with his animals, but in the lightning he saw a woman holding a child. Frightened, the boy ran away and returned to the place with his parents. Exactly at the place where he saw the lady, there was a crack in the rock and inside was a painting depicting the lady with the child.

How to reach the Church Madonna della Rocca

The easiest way to reach the Church of the Madonna della Rocca in Taormina is by public transportation. Buses leave from Piazza San Pancrazio, just outside Porta Messina. They will drop you off right in front of the church, which is also where the stairs to the Saracen castle of Monte Tauro begin. Alternatively, there is a stairway (Salita Castello) that starts from Via Circonvallazione. However, it is advisable to use it to return to the center of Taormina.

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