Venue & social events

Dates: 24 July - 2 August 2015

Venue


Main Palace Hotel, a 4-star superior hotel in Roccalumera, Sicily (near Taormina) - Italy, overlooks the Costa Jonica, just a stone's throw from the beach. Thanks to its location, the Main Palace Hotel is the perfect hotel for a seaside holiday, letting you enjoy the art and culture of Taormina, Catania and Syracuse and discover spectacular natural landscapes of the Etna or Alcantara Parks.

Where: Via Cristoforo Colombo, 98027 Roccalumera (near Taormina), Sicily
Main Palace Hotel


In addition to the pleasant breeze that cools the Costa Jonica, guests at Main Palace Hotel can enjoy the nearby beach -reserved just for them and fully equipped - where you can bathe in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean.


How to arrive


Closest Airport: Catania Airport

The best way is to take a Direct Bus (www.interbus.it) from the international Fontanarossa Airport in Catania, which is 75 km away from Roccalumera. to Taormina. Bus Ticket Office (and Bus Departure) is at the exit of the Airport (few metres distant). It arrives at the Roccalumera train station in about 50 minutes.

The other possibility is the Train. To do so, you need to take a City-Bus from the Catania Airport to the Railway Station of Catania (it take about 13 min.)

Once you get to the station, you can reach the hotel by taxi or by shuttle (reserve this when you make the reservation). The trip lasts 5 minutes.

See further instructions on the web site of the hotel.

The place is a touristic destination and several excursions can be organized during the event.

Some suggestions can come from special events present in place during the Summer period.

Taormina

Taormina was settled around 395 BC by the people coming from the nearby city of Naxos, an older Greek settlement. These early residents had fled the tyranny of Dionysius the Elder, who eventually conquered Taormina anyway, in 392 BC. Taormina flourished in the time of Julius Caesar, only to suffer under Octavian, who retaliated against the city for its support of Pompey by expelling most of its inhabitants and offering their homes to Roman soldiers.

Taormina


The site of the old town is about 250 metres above the sea, while a very steep and almost isolated rock, crowned by a Saracen castle, rises about 150 metres higher. Different fragments of ancient buildings are scattered over its whole surface. In the coast just south of Taormina, is the Isola Bella, a nature reserve; and further south, situated beside a bay, is the popular seaside resort of Giardini Naxos.

But by far the most remarkable monument of Taormina is the Ancient Greek theatreone of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily. The world famous view of Mount Etna and the sea beyond the theatre is breathtaking. This tetheater was built in the third century BC, and expanded by the Romans, who enlarged the stage and added a partial roof (now destroyed). Although the plan and arrangement are in accordance with those of Greek architecture, the theatre is built for the most part of brick, and is therefore probably of Roman date. It is supposed that  the present structure was rebuilt upon the foundations of an older theatre of the Greek period. Many exhibitions and events, such as dramatic performances, are organized during the summer in Taormina. The exceptional stage for pop and classical concerts, opera take advantages of its remarkable preservation and its beautiful geographical location. Among the most important events there is the Taormina Film Fest, the well-known summer international cinema festival.


Mount Etna

Mount Etna (high 3330 meters) is the largest volcano in Europe and the second among the most active volcanoes in the world. According to UNESCO (which in 2013 added it as a World Heritage Site), Mount Etna has "one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism." While the eruptions of the side have durations ranging from a few days up to a few years, the most frequent summit activity can last for several years. Due to frequent eruptions the entire region has been carefully monitored.


How to visit. Visit the Refuge in the evening (especially during mountain moderate activity) is a truly awesome experience. The most common route is through the road leading to Sapienza Refuge, lying at the south of the crater at elevation of 1910 m. From the Refuge, a cableway runs uphill to the elevation of 2500 m; from there, visitors can take a drive with special terrain vehicles, or take a long walk to the designated crater area at 2920. 

Siracuse

Syracuse (Siracusa), the most important city of Magna Graecia, is the outpost of each colonization that Sicily has "hosted". It defeated the mighty Athens in 413 and was home to many a great Greek, including Archimedes. At the height of its political, economic and military powers, the city had a population of 300,000 and was described by Marcus Tullius Cicero “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all” (Verrine, II 4.117-119).

The archaeological sites in the northwest of the town present a number of well-preserved Greek (and Roman) remains. The main attraction is undoubtedly the Neapolis Archaeological Park where the Greek Theatre (dating back at the 5th Century BC) is still used for an annual Greek theatre summer festival, where the plays of Aeschylus and Euripedes are still performed in as they were more than 2000 years ago. Another interesting archaeological site, within the city center, are the remains of the first great Sicilian Doric Temple of Apollo, which being built in the 7th Century BC.

Ortiga

Ortigia is Syracuse's island heart is often defined as the Manhattan of Ancient Greece. It measures less than 1km2 (packed with over 2,500 years of history). In the eastern limits of the city one can find a maze of streets that are completed, at the southern extreme of the island, by a bastion built by the emperor Frederick II in 1239 (Castello Maniace). Architectural styles vary widely, encompassing Greek and Roman remains, Mediaeval Norman buildings and Baroque. In the centre of Ortygia we find the delightful pedestrian square (Piazza del Duomo), which is enriched by the presence of the wonderful Cathedral of Syracuse built on the site of an ancient Temple of Athena.

  

The Cathedral encompasses the entire history of the city. Founded at the time of the early Greeks (as temple of Athena erected in 480 BC), its original Doric columns, that were incorporated into the building’s main structure, are the main sign of its antiquity. Today is a Catholic church but before the Duomo had also changes from Doric, Byzantine, Corinthian, Romans, Normans, in short different cultures. 


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