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Renowned for being one of the settings for 'The Godfather', Savoca has also been voted one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. A quiet and crumbling hill village perched high above the sea, this is a really atmospheric taste of authentic Sicily. A world away from the touristy bustle of over-developed Taormina just down the coast, Savoca offers a chance to breathe deeply and see what an unspoiled Sicilian hill village can be. A recent restoration programme has opened the village to visitors, but a short stroll still passes abandoned dwellings, crumbling churches and amazing rural views.
As you tour the panoramic lanes, the view encompasses sea, mountains, steep green valleys, cultivated terraces, sheep, distant hill towns, ruins and far-off Etna, Sicily's giant. There's a great deal of pleasure to be had in Savoca from gently pottering around the hilltops at different times of day, admiring the varied views and changing conditions: from spectacular sunsets to moody low clouds drifting past the houses. Savoca has three notable churches, one of which, San Nicolò, perches on the hillside beneath the rocky castle summit and was featured in a wedding scene in The Godfather.
- Visit Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo D'Agro, a church located just 1kim from Lemon House. Standing majestically and surrounded by lush citrus groves, the Church, a national monument, is a jewel of Byzantine, Arab and Norman styles, a breathtaking polychromy of white sandstone and black lava stones. It provides a plethora of photographic opportunities for art and architecture lovers, for scholars and men of culture - it's a true masterpiece
- Spend a day in Taormina, the chic and bustling resort less than 7 miles away. The 'pearl of the Ionian', with its panoramic view, its monuments and lush vegetation, Taormina is an exclusive resort famous throughout the world.Visit the spectacular Greek Theatre with its breathtaking panorama; built in the Hellenistic period and then almost entirely rebuilt by the Romans who used it for gladiator fights, the theatre today hosts many events of international calibre. The main street, Corso Umberto I, with its narrow streets, is full of shops, cafes, restaurants and especially historical buildings, churches and squares with unparalled views
- Take a trip to Mount Etna, a natural resource of rare beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fifth highest mountain in Italy and a truly active volcano to this day, it overlooks the Gulf of Catania and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world each year
- Spend a day at the Alcantara Gorges, known as the Grand Canyon of Sicily, and forming a deep canyon that stretches for about 14 kilometers on the lower middle reaches of the river itself - one of the natural wonders of Sicily. With walls created by the flow of basaltic lava, Alcantara Gorges are part of the Botanical and Geological Park Alcantara and offer opportunities for hiking, body rafting and other fun activities
- A trip to Sicily should always include a visit to Syracuse. Jutting out into the sea with the promontory island of Ortigia, the oldest part of the city is a must visit, undoubtedly one of the most important Sicilian destinations. It is not difficult to imagine the grandeur of the city of the past, when Syracuse was the largest Greek city of the West. Visit the archaeological site of Neapolis, north-west of Ortigia, and set foot in the majestic Theatre, that still mounts classical plays to this day. Traces of the grandeur of the Greek era can also be found in Ortigia, where you will find the ruins of the temple of Apollo, the oldest in Sicily (end sec. VII BC). TA few kilometers from Syracuse are some of the most beautiful beaches of Sicily, known as 'Fontane Bianche'
- Another world heritage site is to be found at Noto, one of the loveliest towns in the province of Syracuse and considered a rare baroque jewel. With its tufa garden and limestone which is spread over a grid pattern, dotted with stately homes, churches and historic buildings with monumental façades, the main street of Noto, approached from the monumental Porta Reale, is Corso Vittorio Emanuele. A long, straight road, punctuated by three large squares that are home to three of the most important city churches: the Church of St. Francis of the Immaculate, the church of Santa Chiara and Cathedral of Noto
- Spend a day at the fishing village of Marzamemi, near Pachino, where in summer you will find numerous seafood restaurants on the waterfront. A few kilometers from Marzamemi are some of the most beautiful beaches of Sicily, San Lorenzo and Calamosche, both located inside the Natural Reserve of Vendicari
- Take a trip to the historically important port of Messina where you can enjoy the unique view over the Strait of Messina separating Sicily from Italy
- And finally visit Catania, a city which has grown accustomed to living with the restlessness of Etna that stands behind it. Catania is a city of great charm, natural elegance and an historic centre. The Duomo, the Collegiate Church, the church of San Nicolò, the monumental Via dei Crociferi all offer a true taste of the Sicilian Baroque. Walk in the old town, rebuilt in the mid-18th Century after the devastating earthquake that in 1693 almost destroyed the city and enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site
On the map: In the hamlet of Rina, on the western edge of the beautiful town of Savoca, Lemon House is situated on the main village road, Via Rina
By car: Just 11km or 45 minutes north of Taormina along the SS114, then into Savoca
By train: The train is not always the best option for getting around Sicily by public transport!
By air: To Catania International Airport, hire a car and then an hour and a quarters' drive to Savoca along the coast road (86km)
Vina Rina 78/A
Province of Messina