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Taormina, Sicily

Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sicily was once at the center of Homeric Ancient Greece so that much of the action in the Odyssey takes place at or near its shores, as shown on this map. To this day, many Sicilian towns preserve memories of antiquity: Acireale (where the stones thrown by the Cyclope are still visible not far from the shore), the Aeolian islands (the home of Aeolus, the god of winds who sealed all but one wind for Odysseus in a jar), the strait of Messina (situated “between Scylla and Charybdis”, two sea monsters on the Italian and Sicilian sides of the strait accordingly), the Temple Valley of Agrigento and of course Taormina. Due to its central position in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily was conquered by the Phoenicians, Romans, Normans, Arabs, French, Spanish – and, now, Italians. This left a rich imprint on the Sicilian art, cuisine, language and traditions.