Taormina, Italy

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Located on Sicily's east coast, just north of the active volcano Mt. Etna, Taormina has long drawn visitors with its stunning coastal scenery, thanks to its vantage point 204 meters (669 feet) above the Ionian Sea. Literary giants like Goethe and D.H. Lawrence spent time here, and more recently the town has become a popular spot for fans of the Godfather films, with some scenes shot in the area. Founded in the 4th century B.C.E., the town has a compact historic center that’s best explored on foot. Start with a visit to the ancient Greek Theater before shopping and people-watching along the Corso Umberto. A cable car makes it easy to reach the beach at Lido Mazzaró—one of the most picturesque and popular on the island, where you can frolic in the crystal clear water or sip a cold drink at one of the beach bars. Taormina is also an ideal jumping-off point for wine-tasting tours on Mt. Etna's slopes, or a visit to the nearby city of Catania.

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