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The Ionian Coast

Villas in east Sicily

The Ionian Coast“[…] if somebody could spend but a single day in Sicily and wondered ‘What should I visit?', I would undoubtedly answer Taormina, […] a place where all beauties created on earth to seduce eyes, mind and imagination can be found”. With these words Guy de Maupassant celebrated Taormina in his travel book. This natural pearl of Sicily is perched on a sheer cliff overlooking the sea, and it's surrounded by bays and sandy coves.

Underneath, the rocky promontory of S. Andrew's Cape, where the cobalt blue sea has eroded the surface creating the Grotta Azzurra, separates the charming and renowned beach of Mazzarò from the bay of Isola Bella, a rock joined to the land by an isthmus of cobbles and shingle. Endowed with a favorable microclimate, this WWF Nature Reserve is a thriving garden of rare and exotic trees planted in the 50's. The beach of Giardini Naxos lies on a peaceful bay between Taormina Cape and Schirò Cape, encompassed by the slopes of Monte Tauro.

The rocky coast towards Catania is the most attractive, endowed with a luxuriant vegetation and a splendid crystal sea, whose colours range between cobalt blue and turquoise. Further to the south, the river Fiumefreddo flows into the sea delimiting the homonymous Nature Reserve. In this area sea water is particularly cool and unpolluted, due to the confluence of the river.

The high cliffs of Timpa near Acireale , a few kilometres from Catania, have been formed by the build-up of lava flowing from Mount Etna over the ages, and still overlook the same enchanting sea once sailed by Malavoglias' ship. Along the coastline facing Acitrezza, the black basaltic outcrops of the Ciclopi Islets rise from the sea. According to the legend, they were launched against the fugitive Ulysses by blinded Polyphemus. It is a little archipelago, Marine Reserve since 1989, consisting of Lachea, Faraglione Grande, Faraglione Piccolo and afew rocks, and it is endowed with a wide variety of species of fish: sargos, dentex, seabass, dusky perches, common soles, swordfish and tuna.

A wide and white beach on the banks of Simeto River, within the Simeto River Natural Oasis, not far from Catania, is the only unpolluted area of the Plaia, the long costline rolling from Augusta to Catania. South of Syracuse, Fontane Bianche Beach can boast beautiful rocky bays and shores of the finest sand. Its name, meaning “white springs”, comes from several pools of fresh water along the coast.

Going down towards Capo Passero, the Vendicari Natural Reserve is worth a stopover. It is a peaceful oasis with a long and quiet sandy beach, and it host the XVIII century Tonnara di Baffuto and a XVI century Swabian Tower. In the shallow lagoons nearby, thousands of migrant birds stop every year (greater flamingos, mute swans, herons, spoonbills and slender bill-gulls).

Villas in east Sicily

The popular Isola Bella in Taormina

Giardini Naxos beach

The Grotta Azzurra in Taormina

The renowned Mazzarò beach

The long and silent sandy beach of Pantani di Vendicari

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