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08 July 2019

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Castelmola of Taormina

Castelmola of TaorminaWith a single look you can see both the Ionian coast, the monumental Etna, the Bay of Giardini-Naxos, the Cape of S.Alessio, the strait of Messina and the Calabrian coast, either you are on Google Maps or you are in Castelmola.

Small village above Taormina is a natural terrace built on the ruins of a Norman castle, which over time was assumed to be a concave and smooth shape. It is easy to guess the origin of the name “Castle” and “Mola”. The Norman walls are all that remains from the fortress. A plaque from the tenth century with Greek-Byzantine engravings placed on the facade of the cathedral states: “This castle was built under Costantino, patrician and strategist of Sicily“.

It is probably referring to Costantino Caramalo, who has defended the bastion, city and territory from attacks by the Arabs in the ninth century. The centrality of the castle of Mola has its historical recognition not only in the Middle Ages, but also in the wars between the French and Spanish nations. Once you enter the village through the rock gate right at the base of a stairway which was made from white lavastone. After moving the gate in front of the castle in 1927, the entrance to the village is marked by an ancient arch on top of the staircase, a medieval testimony, which remained isolated.

Overlooking the village square is the church of S. Antonino, now used as a municipal auditorium, but with much older origins. Just a few steps from the church you can admire the wonderful portal of the Casa Sterrantino.

Also on the square overlooking the historic Cafe S. Giorgio, founded by monks in 1700. The special feature of this building used as a tavern, in addition to the album that collects the signatures of famous people who have passed through Castelmola since 1907. In fact, it is known that Don Vincenzo Blandano, the historical owner of the cafe, used to offer the vine alla mandorla (almond wine) as a sign of welcome to the guests arrived in the village. This drink, made with almonds and orange essence.