Castelmola is a hill top village perched above the popular seaside town of Taormina. From Castelmola you can look down over Taormina and the Ionian Sea and you can also look over to Mount Etna in the opposite direction.
Castelmola has been classified as one of the "most beautiful villages of Italy".
Castelmola is a village that built up around the Castle Mola that was built in Norman times. Now it is only the walls of the castle that remain though the village is thriving.
Castelmola is entered through an arch that leads to Piazza San Antonino, a large square with a tiled floor made of black and white lava and surrounded by views of the beautiful hills and valleys of the region. To the side of the square is Caffè San Giorgio from which you have spectacular views of Taormina and the bright blue waters of the Ionian Sea.
The Caffè San Giorgi is something of an institution in Castelmola as it has existed since it was opened by monks in 1700. It was Don Vincenzo Blandano, owner of the tavern who invented the famous almond wine that you really have to try when you visit the village. The white wine flavoured with almonds, orange essence and herbs was given out by Don Vincenzo Blandano to welcome visitors to the village.
Take a read of the visitor book in the cafe as it has been signed by famous people who have visited since the beginning of the 20th century.
Walking through the village towards the Piazza Duomo and the mother church you will pass quaint shops selling lace and embroidery and houses whose windows and doors are decorated with the white lava of the area. Signs and balconies are made of wrought iron and the buildings are painted lovely in lovely pastel shades. It is quite charming especially coupled with the wonderful views.
Also on the way to the Mother Church is an unusual bar, the Bar Turrisi, which is full of phallic ornaments made of wood and ceramics. Further along the Mother Church occupies a splendid position with some wonderful views and inside it has a wooden statue by the school of Bagnasco.
Another church in Castelmola is the church of San Biagio with an eighteenth century frescoe.
Places to visit nearby
Of course if you are visiting Castelmola you are almost certainly visiting, or staying in the lovely town of Taormina down the hill from Castelmola. Its remarkable Roman theatre is well worth a visit.
Giardini Naxos is another popular beach resort just south of Taormina and Savoca to the north is also a popular resort and like Castelmola is a "most beautiful village of Italy".
Castelmola is one of eighteen most beautiful villages in Sicily and there are a few in this general area. These include Castiglione di Sicilia, Montalbano Elicona and Novara di Sicilia.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.