Piazza s. caterina
Apartment | 2 bedrooms | sleeps 4
A main doublebedroom (a divan bed) with wardrobe, tv set and a small balcony overlooking the square, and two single beds in an adjacent space, close to the bathroom. The fully-equipped kitchen is on the on the upper floor: there are table and chairs, a four-ring hob, oven , coffee machine, dishes, cutlery and pots, a refrigerator, water heater and a washing machine. Towels and bed linen furnished on request. The flat is very conveniently situated both for facilities and for tourist attractions of the cultural heritage. There is a chemist’s, on the main street, at less than 100 metres; a supermarket close by at less than 200 metres, another one, bigger, at about 5o0 metres, at the end of the main street; Banks and cash dispensers are on the same square; the tourist information center is quite opposite the flat, in the Palazzo Corvaja (former seat of the ancient sicilian Parliament, now a museum) ; At five minutes’ walk there is the spectacular Greek-Roman Theatre, and the Palazzo dei Congressi, a cultural centre where performances and film shows of the Taormina Art Festival are held, is at a stone’s throw. Within easy reach are the links to the sand beaches of Mazzarò, Spisone- Letojanni, and the shingle beach of Isola Bella, renowned wildlife sanctuary. From Porta Messina, at less than 100 metres from the flat, you can, in a few minutes’ walk, reach the cableway to Mazzarò or Isola Bella, while the buses for Mazzeo and Spisone-Letojanni leave from Porta Messina; the bus station, to reach the railway but also important towns such as Catania and Siracusa, is at 500 metres. 350 euros per week, plus 25 euros for cleaning. Discounts for more than two weeks’ rent.
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Mazzarò 1 km|
|Access||Car not necessary|
|Nearest Amenities||100 m|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Catania - Fontanarossa 50 km, Nearest railway: Taormina-Giardini 3 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Utilities||Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||2 Sofa beds, Single beds (2), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 6|
The Sicily region
Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 m (10,890 ft) the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. The earliest archeological evidence of human dwelling on the island dates from 8000 BC. At around 750 BC, Sicily became a Greek colony and for the next 600 years it was the site of the Greek-Punic and Roman-Punic wars, which ended with the Roman destruction of Carthage. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily often changed hands, and during the early Middle Ages it was ruled in turn by the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. Later on, the Kingdom of Sicily lasted between 1130 and 1816, subordinated to the crowns of Aragon, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and finally the Bourbons, as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
About 750 BC, the Greeks began to live in Sicily (Sikelia), establishing many important settlements. The most important colony was Syracuse; other significant ones were Akragas, Selinunte, Gela, Himera, and Zancle. The native Sicani and Sicel peoples were absorbed by the Hellenic culture with relative ease, and the area was part of Magna Graecia along with the rest of southern Italy, which the Greeks had also colonised. Sicily was very fertile, and the introduction of olives and grape vines flourished, creating a great deal of profitable trading; a significant part of Greek culture on the island was that of Greek religion and many temples were built across Sicily, such as the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.
In the 6th century, the Gothic War took place between the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire. Sicily was the first part of Italy to be taken under general Belisarius who was commissioned by Eastern Emperor Justinian I, this campaign being part of an ambitious project of restoring the whole Roman Empire, uniting the Eastern and the Western halves. Sicily was used as a base for the Byzantines to conquer the rest of Italy, with Naples, Rome, Milan and the Ostrogoth capital Ravenna falling within five years. However, a new Ostrogoth king Totila, drove down the Italian peninsula, plundering and conquering Sicily in 550. Totila, in turn, was defeated and killed in the Battle of Taginae by the Byzantine general Narses in 552.
In 535, Emperor Justinian I made Sicily a Byzantine province, and for the second time in Sicilian history, the Greek language became a familiar sound across the island. As the power of the Byzantine Empire waned, Sicily was invaded by the Arab forces of Caliph Uthman in 652. The Arabs failed to make any permanent gains, and returned to Syria after gathering some booty.
Byzantine Emperor Constans II decided to move from the capital Constantinople to Syracuse in Sicily during 660. The following year he launched an assault from Sicily against the Lombard Duchy of Benevento, which then occupied most of southern Italy. The rumors that the capital of the empire was to be moved to Syracuse, probably cost Constans his life as he was assassinated in 668. His son Constantine IV succeeded him, a brief usurpation in Sicily by Mezezius being quickly suppressed by the new emperor. Contemporary accounts report that the Greek language was widely spoken on the island during this period.
The Arabs initiated land reforms which in turn, increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings, a dent to the dominance of the landed estates. The Arabs further improved irrigation systems. A description of Palermo was given by Ibn Hawqal, an Arab merchant who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb called the Al-Kasr (the palace) is the center of Palermo to this day, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of Al-Khalisa (Kalsa) contained the Sultan's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqal reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops.
Throughout this reign, revolts by Byzantine Sicilians continuously occurred, especially in the east, and parts of the island were re-occupied before being quashed. Agricultural items such as oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugar cane were brought to Sicily. Under the Arab rule the island was aligned in three administrative regions, or "vals", roughly corresponding to the three "points" of Sicily: Val di Mazara in the west; Val Demone in the northeast; and Val di Noto in the southeast.
As dhimmis, the native Christians (Eastern Orthodox) were allowed freedom of religion, but had to pay a tax, Jizya, and had limitations placed on their occupations, dress and ability to participate in public affairs. The Emirate of Sicily began to fragment as intra-dynastic quarreling fractured the Muslim regime. During this time there was also a minor Jewish presence.
By the 11th century, mainland southern Italian powers hired Norman mercenaries, who conquered Sicily from the Arabs under Roger I. After taking Apulia and Calabria, he occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger was victorious at Misilmeri, but the most crucial battle was the siege of Palermo, which in 1072 led to Sicily coming under Norman control.
Roger died in 1101. He was succeeded by his son, Roger II, who was the first King of Sicily. The elder Roger was married to Adelaide, who ruled until her son came of age in 1112.
The Normans, the Hautevilles, who were descended from the Vikings, came to appreciate and admire the rich and layered culture in which they now found themselves. Many Normans in Sicily adopted some of the attributes of Muslim rulers in dress, language, literature, and even in the presence of palace Eunuchs and according to some accounts, a harem. Like the multi-ethnic Caliphate of Córdoba, then only just eclipsed, the court of Roger II became the most luminous center of culture in the Mediterranean, both from Europe and the Middle East. This attracted scholars, scientists, poets, artists and artisans of all kinds. In Norman Sicily, still with heavy Arab influence, laws were issued in the language of the community to whom they were addressed: the governance was by the rule of law so there was justice. Muslims, Jews, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards and Normans worked together to form a society that historians have said has created some of the most extraordinary buildings the world has ever seen
At five minutes’ walk there is the spectacular Greek-Roman Theatre, and the Palazzo dei Congressi, a cultural centre where performances and film shows of the Taormina Art Festival are held, is at a stone’s throw
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Calendar last updated:22 Aug 2014
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