Exploring Taormina in five photos: Santa Caterina

Thanks to Pip from Sustainability Soapbox for nominating me to do the five photos/five stories challenge.

This week I’ll be sharing five images from Sicily with particular stories attached to them.

This summer I found myself visiting Taormina twice after having two different groups of guests to visit who both expressed a desire to see this famous resort town in the province of Messina. I love this magical Sicilian town but it is a bit of a hassle to visit in the summer as it is filled with tourists, the heat is tremendous, it is terribly expensive and touristy which means a visit isn’t going to be an authentic Italian experience really as there are more foreigners in town than locals.

So I’d like to explore the theme of Taormina beyond the tourists.

Yes, I managed to see something of the authentic city behind all the foreign visitors.

It seems timely to be writing about Taormina after a couple of days of torrential rain flooded the streets of the town last week. I imagine as everything is drying out in the forecasted sunshine the locals will be relieved for a short respite from the visitors.

Chiesa Santa Caterina di Alessandria at Taormina

I am gradually falling in love with Sicilian Saints and so the Church of Santa Caterina di Alessandria at Taormina is my favorite, if only for it’s dedication to this early Christian martyr.
Saint Catherine was one of the most popular saints of the
Middle Ages and is considered the most important of the virgin martyrs, a group of fourteen saints in heaven who willingly intercede for the fathful. St Catherine is the inspiration behind many beautiful prayers, poems and songs.
St Catherine was tortured on a spiked wheel by Emperor Maximian (305–313) and is often depicted with the wheel of her suffering hanging around her neck as a pendant on a chain and the head of the emperor under feet with the sword that was used to decapitate her in hand, as you can see here above the entrance of the church, which is one of the first you meet while walking down the main street in the historic center.

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I’d like to nominate my friend Pete from Englishman in Italy for the five photo/five story challenge, he says he had some fun in Sicily over the summer which he’d like to share, so keep an eye out for some hilarity from him 😉

6 thoughts on “Exploring Taormina in five photos: Santa Caterina

  1. I look forward to all the posts. I am sure that they will be enlightening. I appreciated learning a few facts about St. Catherine, but I must admit that the entire concepts of saints seems like idolatry. Even the nuns in grade school could not beat it out of me.

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    1. I used to think along the same lines, but the stories of these fascinating figures are so colourful I am slowly falling in love with them. Sicilian’s love their patron saints they are like their ‘special friends’ in heaven 😉

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  2. I loved Taormina & would happily have stayed longer. Although violent, Catherine’s story was impressive. I only realised last trip that this was where they got the name for Catherine Wheel fireworks.

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    1. Oh I adore Taormina, but every day trip there is always so rushed! There are a few things I’d love to do and see there, which I mention in Friday’s post. I hope to explore as I please one day. Well I stumbled on statue of St Catherine in my own little hometown church while a friend was visiting and noticed she had her foot on a man’s head. I actually didn’t know the story so I asked my sister in law who has been going to this particular church all her life and she remembered the local priest pointing out the names of all the procession of Saints in the Church, and there are loads of them. Sicilian’s love their Saints, I’m sure there is a book in that 😉 Thanks ever so much for suggesting these posts, they have been great fun!

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