Just south of Taormina is the Isola Bella, a nature reserve; and further south, situated beside a bay, is the popular seaside resort of Giardini Naxos. Tours of the Capo Sant' Andrea grottos are also available.
The village of Taormina is perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian sea. Besides the ancient Greek theatre, it has many old churches, lively bars, fine restaurants, and antique shops. Taormina is approximately a forty-five minute drive away from Europe's largest active volcano, Mount Etna.
Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1955, wrote most of his first novel, Vefarinn mikli frá Kasmír ("The Great Weaver from Kashmir"), in Taormina which he then praised highly in his book of autobiographical essays, Skáldatími ("The Time of the Poet", 1963).
Between 1948 and 1999 the English writer Daphne Phelps lived in the Casa Cuseni designed and built by Robert Hawthorn Kitson in 1905, and entertained various friends including Bertrand Russell, Roald Dahl, and Tennessee Williams