My last day in Taormina had started: I woke up at daybreak to pack my suitcase since later today I would be relocating from Taormina to the city of Milazzo. I enjoyed my final breakfast on the gorgeous terrace of Hotel Villa Nettuno, the place that had been my home for the last seven nights. Pictures of yesterday’s hike up Mount Etna flashed to my mind. The view over the Ionian Sea continued to fascinate me and I hope that one day I will make it back to beautiful Taormina.
Taormina’s beautiful Villa Comunale, formerly a private estate, now a public park
My last day of classes had started and our strict yet witty language teacher Carlo continued to teach us the intricacies of Italian pronouns and adverbial phrases of time and place. His colleague Simona took over at 11:40 for our communications exercise and we started to listen to a recording of a real-life Italian call-in show where a person called into a radio station to talk to two psychiatrists to discuss fears and phobias.
Each equipped with headsets, we listened to the recording twice and recounted what we had understood. Then we embarked on an unscripted discussion of our own fears and phobias. In addition, Simona had prepared cardboard cards with questions. Each one of us got to pick from the stack of cards and we got to choose who we were going to ask the question we had picked. This provided another great opportunity to talk and apply our Italian language skills. An animated philosophical discussion ensued and everyone had a chance to express their thoughts and feelings.
Entrance to Taormina’s Palazzo Corvaja
After taking pictures with my class mates and our teachers, I dropped by the office to say goodbye to Alessandro and his team. The entire crew at the Babilonia Language School had been extremely helpful over the past week of my stay, I had indeed picked up my Italian skills (and was officially at Intermediate level now), and I had thoroughly enjoyed all our various excursions: from our hike to Castelmola Friday a week ago, to our archeological and cultural excursion to Siracusa, to our walking tour of Taormina, my glimpses at Babilonia’s cooking and pottery decorating classes, our hiking excursion to Mount Etna and various dinners and social events, the last seven days had been packed full of exciting activities and opportunities for learning and forging new friendships.
I sincerely thanked Alessandro and his team and hoped to come back some time in the future. Together with two of my new-found friends, Jill from the UK, and Connie from Switzerland we went for a little walk and decided to have lunch at a local restaurant called Panoramic Bella Blu which is located on Via Pirandello right next to the cable car station that connects hill-top Taormina with beach-front Mazzaro. We enjoyed a nice late lunch with a stunning view over the Mediterranean, and about an hour later I had to say goodbye. I had double-checked at the bus station when my bus would come to take me to the railway station at Taormina – Giardini Naxos so I would be able to make the trek to my next destination: Milazzo.
Vincenzo and Maria Sciglio and three Babilonia students
Before departing I went back to Hotel Villa Nettuno to quickly download my photos and take a few more shots of the beautiful garden that is part of the Sciglio family’s estate. At the top of the garden is the so-called “Tempietto” (“little temple”), a temple-shaped lookout point with benches and a sweeping view over the Ionian Sea and part of Taormina. I took a few quick photos with Vincenzo Sciglio, the patriarch of the family, and two of my German Babilonia co-students and at 5:30 pm I sadly said goodbye. Vincenzo promised that when I come here next time he will take me to the family’s country retreat where they make home-made wine. He said he produces the grape juice for the wine by stomping on the grapes with his bare feet. Well, next time I come to Taormina I definitely want to see that.
The “Tempietto, a beautiful greek inspired temple, overlooking the Mediterranean