Eastern Sicily

The eastern section of Sicily runs along the coast from Messina south to Catania and Lentini, and inland to the mountains - the Monti Peloritani to the north of the region and the area around Mount Etna - the Mount Etna Regional Parc - to the south. A little inland of Catania the town of Paterno has an interesting Norman castle.

To the north of the region, Messina retains many interesting highlights despite an earthquake that devastated the town in 1908 and a great deal of further damage during World War 2 - a significant part of the town has been rebuilt as it was before the damage.

Heading south from Messina is one of the classified 'most beautiful villages in Italy' at Savoca and further down the coast is  Taormina which is one of the most popular towns on Sicily, and is the highlight of a visit to eastern Sicily. In a particularly attractive location, 200 metres above the sea on the side of Mount Tauro, it is a lovely town to explore with a great deal of interesting buildings to enjoy and plenty of shady cafes to stop for a rest from the heat.

See also the popular Giardini Naxos a little way south of Taormina, and the 'most beautiful village' at Castelmola above the town.

Mountains

It is Mount Etna, the quietly active volcano, that dominates the region and is visible from much of eastern Sicily. It is possible to trek up the mountain (guided tours) or to travel around the base, either by car or on a special tourist train. The higher up Etna you go, the more the terrain changes - from the very fertile lands lower down to barren ash and lava fields higher up - each landscape is well worth seeing.

The Peloritani Mountain range, though less immediately dramatic, also merits exploration - much of the region is very hard to access but some of the villages on the lower slopes merit a visit, such as Casalvecchio Siculo, Forza d'Agro and Savoca.

Beaches

Some of the best beaches along this stretch of coast are near Taormina - there are pebble beaches at Mozzaro just below the town, and sandy beaches a few kilometres to the south. many of the beaches are crowded and it is often necessary to pay for access.