Mediterranean Cardiology Meeting

 Taormina, Italy April 10 - 12 2003
 President: Michele M. Gulizia , MD, FACA

   Project Leader :

Program President Scientific
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Tourist Information

The Ancient Theater

The Ancient Theater is not only a piece of the archaeological patrimony in Taormina, but it is also a place of incomparable panoramic beauty. The eye spaces from the bay of Naxos to the Calabrian coasts, the Etna, Castelmola.
Is it Greek or Roman? Probably it was built by the Greeks and restructured and widened in the Roman age. A proof of that is given by the presence, under the scene, of stone blocks, which were used by the Greeks.
The Romans built it during ten years.

It is 50 meters wide, 120 long and 20 meters high. For dimension it's the second in Sicily, after the one in Syracuse. It consists of three parts: the scene, the orchestra and the cavea.
The most important part is the scene, that partially preserves the original form. The stage wall is 30x40 meters. Two side elements closed the scene and cavea, preventing the passage to the audience. The roof of them had two big terraces, still existing.

The cavea, semicircular tiers crossed by radial stairways for the distribution of the public, is dug in the rock and it has a diameter of 109 meters.
The first positions of the cavea were reserved to the authorities, while the upper part was reserved to the women. The populace stood on the terraces, which didn't have communication with the interior parts of the theatre. An ample curtain protected the audience from the sun and the rain. The cavea was divided in five annular corridors cutted vertically by eight tight staircases, which are constituted by thirty steps apiece.
The tight staircases departed from the cavea and arrived to the terminal wall, where, connected with them, eight doors opened, through which we could reach the covered corridor. The niches in the terminal wall, still well visible, contained statues in exhibition. The orchestra, placed in the center, separates the scene from the cavea. It has a diameter of 35 meters.
The Romans used bricks of clay and mortar for the remaking and amplification of the Theatre. They built also a channels system to make the rains waters flow out.
The theatre was decorated with columns of white marble and grey granite. Unfortunately, almost all the columns were lost.
The ancient Theater is one of the principal attractions in Taormina. Perfectly fit and working, after having given hospitality to the Donatello's David prize (one of the most important Iitalian Cinema Festival), it is today center of Taormina Art, international festival which goes on for the whole summer period with theatrical and cinema reviews, ballet and symphonic music shows.

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The Antiquarium

It's a little archaeological museum, placed in two rooms of the custodian's house (in olden days called The English' house). The guarded ruins are few, because mostly moved to the museums in Naples, Messina and Syracuse.
Among the most interesting ruins: the base of the Olimpio's statue, in stone of Taormina (Olimpio was a tauromenita athlete winner of the races in the competitions of Olimpia); the base of the Caius Claudius Marcellus's statue; the two pillars (the Strategists' Table and the Ginnasiarchi' Table); the marble sarcophagus, small and oval, which is probably the form of a child (the exterior part is graven in high relief with scenes of children); the stone blocks smoothed and engraved with the polis financial accounts.

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Taormina Arte Araba

Military Tower
In the eleventh century Arabs strengthened the city fortifications, building a tower, which subsequently constituted the nucleus around which was built Corvaja Palace. This tower has the form of a cube, which to the Arabs remembered their sacred Al Ka 'bah, first temple erected in the Mecca to God from Abraham. It includes two superimposed square rooms, on the ground and first floor

Arab Necropolis
It is situated close to the northern gate,by the road which from Capo Taormina climbs as
far as the city center. Probably it was realized between the ninth and eleventh century.
It is defined "at columbarium" (symmetrical cells one on top of the other).

The Castle
It is situated on the top of Mount Tauro. Here there was the ancient greek acropolis.
It is called Saracen Castle too, because it was rebuilt in the thirteenth century by the arabs.
It has a trapezoidal form and is endowed with a tower, which was a control tower. Today
we can still notice the cisterns used to harvest rain-water and the underground corridor
to deposit weapons and provisions. It is dominated by Castelmeola, a little village in
the top of the mount.

The Tower Clock
It acts as gate of enter to the part of the town which is definite fifteenth-century suburb.
It dates back to the twelfth century, but in 1676 it was razed to the ground, during the French invasion, by means of Luigi the fourteenth's troops.
The still visible tower is a reconstruction made in 1679, wanted by the citizen, who then made build the big clock too, by which it takes the name.
The first tower was erected on the ruins of the ancient defensive building construction, which dates back to the age of the origin of the town, that is around the fourth century BC. This thesis is confirmed by the foundations of the Tower, because they're made with big square blocks in stone from Taormina

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