Taormina is a magnet for fashion and antique shoppers
Shopping is one of the main attractions for our beautiful town, something not to miss! Generally stores are open 7 days a week from 9am to 1pm and from 4pm to 9pm; the main high fashion and fine leather-goods stores are open throughout the day and most shops remain open until midnight during the summer. A variety of newsstands and bookstores sell English and foreign-language newspapers, books and magazines.
Food stores There are many fruit stands, small food and grocery stores (alimentari) throughout Taormina. SMA is the largest, situated in Via Apollo Arcageta 19 near the Porta Catania gate and the Post Office, selling meats, bakery goods, fruits and vegetables of all kinds as well as a large variety of wines and spirits.
Markets If you’re a bargain shopper, don’t miss the weekly market every Wednesday morning until 1 pm, in Taormina’s Contrada Chiusa. This bustling marketplace offers clothing, shoes and handbags at remarkably low prices. Another such bargain opportunity may be found Saturdays until 1 pm down Via Pirandello in Giardini-Naxos.
Banks Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8.35 in the morning and generally close at 4pm. Remember to take your passport with you if you are changing travellers’ cheques or currency. During the weekends you can find several exchange offices. There are several banks in town and practically one ATM machine at every corner.
Post Office “La Posta”, the main Post Office in Taormina, is located by the archway of Porta Catania and is open from 8am to 6 pm every day except Sunday. Souvenir shops do not sell stamps but you can find them at newsagents or tobacconists (Tabacchi) along all main town streets. You can get stamps and have your cards and letters posted by Villa Carlotta reception at no extra charge. The post boxes in Sicily are red.
Tourist Office Taormina Ufficio del Turismo is located in the stunning Palazzo Corvaja on Taormina’s main walking street. You can get free maps and information about the town and the area.
Pharmacy Pharmacies are generally open all day until 8 pm; usually a chemist is open on Sundays on a rotation basis. Pharmacy staff speak fluent English.
Gas stations There are a few gas stations near Villa Carlotta and many along the main touristic roads and expressways (autostrade). Petrol is very expensive in Italy.
Transport and connecting to nearby locations are easily accomplished. The small medieval village of Castelmola is a short drive above Taormina, and you can connect to the beaches along with national roads and the Catania- Messina motorway with equal ease. Staying at Hotel Villa Carlotta allows you to be free of the need to drive except for sightseeing trips (information is available at our reception desk, with maps and itineraries). The hotel provides free shuttles to the beach during the summer, although some guests enjoy a walk to the sea (15 min.). Otherwise, you have a choice of taxis or public buses (the small orange buses are local; the larger blue buses go to nearby towns, and there is a Villa Carlotta bus top). A cable car from Taormina town centre a few meters from the Porta Messina archway and Corso Umberto links with the beach area of Mazzarò. The train station is located near Giardini-Naxos about 5 km. from Taormina and Hotel Villa Carlotta. One way to feel part of the Italian and Sicilian style of life is to rent a scooter; it gives you a full sense of freedom and no parking problems (helmet is absolutely compulsory).
Sports and activities
Golf – Il Picciolo golf club (18 holes) is located in Castiglione di Sicilia in the Etna wine country, a mere 35 minutes’ drive from Taormina. Other popular sports in our town are tennis, scuba diving, watersports, boating, parasailing, soccer and of course jogging in our wonderful botanical gardens (2 min. from Villa Carlotta).