Ready for the island – off in the spring

Ready for the island - off in the spring

Spring is the best time to travel for Sicily – everywhere it smells and blooms, the sun is not burning yet, but warms pleasantly. Flaneurs frolic on the beach while you can still ski on Mount Etna.

Green. Green as far as the eye can see. If you drive over Sicily in the spring, you might think he is traveling in Ireland. But it sprouts and flourishes Mediterranean. The tendrils of the caper shrub use even the last cracks in the wall. Almond, lemon, kaki or mulberry trees are flourishing. And the poppy flower begins millions of times: over areas and meadows a red carpet spreads.

One of the most famous travelers to Sicily, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, registered the phenomenon of Sicily on his trip to Italy , which he undertook as a late thirtieth. In the spring of 1787 he stayed on Italy’s and the Mediterranean’s largest island. The quote is: “The fact that I have seen Sicily is an indestructible treasure on my whole life.” In the spring Sicily is: to the amazement.

And you do not sweat as much as in summer, when temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius are not uncommon. In April and May, the mercury fluctuates between 20 and 25 degrees, the late Baroque heritage in the island east can still explore without heat collapse and dehydration.

After the devastating earthquake of 1693 Noto, Ragusa and Modica were destroyed and quickly rebuilt. Hence the homogeneous Baroque face of the cities, where tourists can not get enough of each other today. Why climb the 242 steps from Ragusa to the Church of Santa Maria delle Scale in the summer, if less effort is needed in the spring?

Ready for the island - off in the spring

Etna offers a special spectacle at night

However, modern island tourism was invented in Taormina, which at the end of the 19th century became the most important tourist center and later also attracted Marlene Dietrich or Truman Capote. “This is the first tourist,” says Giuseppe Ameno, showing a picture in a thin book signed with Otto Geleng.

Geleng arrived in 1863 early in the year. He was a Prussian nobleman who came in the wake of the Grand Tour, the forerunner of the modern educational journey reserved for the privileged. Sicily was once the station of many aristocrats, aristocrats and artists, they preferred spring and autumn.

Ready for the island - off in the spring

Geleng immortalized as a landscape painter the Etna and historical building built on the steep coastal town of Taormina, which was populated at the time even by fishermen, shepherds and simple farmers. And he could not find a hotel, because that was not the case at the time, but a simple place called “Timeo” – the forerunner of today’s “Grand Hotel Timeo”, in whose restaurant Giuseppe Ameno works as a maître.

On the famous terrace Tennessee Williams, DH Lawrence or the German Emperor Wilhelm II enjoyed the view of the bay of Naxos and the often covered with smoke. At over 3300 meters, it is Europe’s largest active volcano, releasing a bit of steam almost every day and offering a special spectacle at night: “When it gets dark in the evening, you sometimes see lava flows flowing down the slopes,” says Ameno.

Isola Bella is within walking distance at low tide

Ready for the island - off in the spring

For the Sicilian, the “Timeo” is one of the most beautiful jobs in the world, for tourists one of the most expensive stays. But the location is great. In the immediate vicinity is the famous Teatro Greco. On sunny spring days, the air here warms to 25 degrees, only a few figures with selfiesticks and cameras are then in the antique semicircle on the way.

The theater, once carved into the rock by the ancient Greeks for plays in the third century BC, rebuilt into an arena by the Romans for gladiatorial competitions and later admired by Goethe, is worth seeing. The atmosphere in the building with the great acoustics could hardly absorb so well when it was summer and everywhere tourist crowds wandered around.

Behind a gap in the ruinous stage building, in which Angela Merkel, Donald Trump and Co. posed for the group portrait at the G-7 summit in 2017, Mount Etna rises in the distance. The view down meets cacti that seem to grow out of the walls, red roofs, then azure sea, rocky shoreline, sandy seams and single, green overgrown offshore islands.

The most famous among them is Isola Bella, which can be reached on foot by a strip of sand at low tide. Further south, the Bay of Giardini-Naxos spreads. In ancient Naxos, the Greeks built in the 8th century BC. Their first colony in Sicily. Sublime can hardly be a look.