One of the best preserved Greek theatres in the world, this is top of the list for visitors to Taormina. It is a dramatic setting high above the town with spectacular views across to Mount Etna. Originally used for dramatic and musical performances by the Greeks, it later became an amphitheatre for gladatorial contests under the Romans.
The semi circular structure dates from the C3rd BC and over 100,000 cubic meters of rock had to be removed when building it. The Greeks built using stone. The brickwork is Roman, dating from when the theatre was rebuilt as an amphitheatre in the C2nd AD. It was divided into the Scena, Orchestra, Cavea and Portico.
The Greek Theatre is reached down a road off Corso Umberto and approached through an archway which leads into the scena. This was the stage where the actors performed. It had three large arched opening, six niches and two rows of pillars. During the Middle Ages, most of the columns were removed and used for building the cathedral and palazzios. This opens up one of the best views of Mount Etna.
The Orchestra was the area for the musicians but the chorus and dancers might also perform there. This area was enlarged by the Romans and some of the lower rows of seats were removed. A deep trench was dug to house the animals
The cavea or auditorium could house up to 5,400 spectators with stone seats, reached by rows of steps. Running round the top of the cavea are two brick porticos. In Roman times, these supported a terrace with additional seating. It is worth climbing to the top for the views.
This is a very impressive site. it is worth getting there just after opening time to miss the worst of the crowds. Apart from a toilet, there are no other amenities here. There is a €10 entry fee. Some guide books say there is free entry for 0ver 60s, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. It is still worth the entry fee though!
There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_five/five_three/index.html and there is more information and pictures about Taormina “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_five/index.html here.