14 February 2019

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Piazza IX Aprile

Piazza IX Aprile

Piazza 9 Aprile is the main square and public living room of Taormina lined by cafes, views, and churches.

About halfway along Taormina’s main drag of Corso Umberto is the town center, Piazza IX Aprile, a communal living room built as a terrace with a view over the Ionian sea from the railing bounding one side.

Lined with cafés and brimming with visitors and caricature artists, it’s the best place to sit back with a cappuccino and enjoy the relaxed resort ambiance of Taormina.


The square was named after the 9th of April, 1860, when mass in the Taormina cathedral down the street was interrupted to announce that Garibaldi had landed at Marsala (on the far side of the island) to begin his conquest of Sicily that made it part of Italy.


(The name is actually a bit of a statement of nationalist pride since the excited local rumor mill that fed the announcement was actually a full month ahead of events. Garibaldi did not land in Marsala until May 9, 1860, but the Taorminese are proud that they called it ahead of time.)


The square used to be called Piazza Sant’Agostino, after the 1448 church on the northeast side (now deconsecrated and serving as the public library).


Also on the piazza: the 17th-century Sicilian baroque church of San Giuseppe atop a balustraded staircase at the southwest corner, and the 12th century Torre dell’Orolorgiobalustraded clock tower destroyed many times but always exactingly rebuilt.