Taormina, Sicily, Italy
© Juergen Schonnop/Getty Image
A dramatic view of Sicily
If you mistook this gorgeous, postcard-worthy image for one of the many coastal towns along Italy's famous Amalfi coast, you wouldn't be far off. However, the town seen here actually lies farther to the south, located on the eastern side of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. Beginning in the late 19th century, sun-seeking tourists have come to the chic resort town of Taormina during the warmer months, looking to dine in its restaurants, relax on its beaches, and of course just to take in the exquisite scenery.
As expected in a town built over 2,000 years ago, traces of history can be found everywhere here, from the tiny medieval streets of old downtown to the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, an amphitheatre built in the Greek style in the third century BCE, and later expanded by the Romans. And though it's been around for more than two millennia, the theatre is still in use, with opera, theatrical productions, and concerts staged there to this day - or at least whenever performances aren't cancelled due to the pandemic. The beauty of this town, built into a steep hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, is said to have inspired writers and thinkers both ancient and modern, from Plato to D. H. Lawrence to Truman Capote.