Taormina has been consumed by the G7! Normally at this time of year, residents of this small Sicilian coastal village, with stunning views of Mt Etna and the Mediterranean, are gearing up for the impending tourist season. Instead the town is preparing for lockdown – and the locals are not happy!
The G7, or group of seven – leaders of the seven major advanced economies – is meeting in Taormina on 26 and 27 May, and with less than two weeks until lockdown the town is swarming with tradies and police.
After enduring months of building and renovation chaos, the town will be closed to the public for one week. Businesses will be forced to shut down at a time when they are normally celebrating an upturn in trade.
The upside is a free makeover. The town’s roads have been resurfaced, many buildings have been restored and important cultural sites such as the Ancient Greek theatre have been cleaned.
Locals will also be spared Donald Trump’s motorcade as the town’s roads are too narrow and bendy, and with no escape routes, so he will now be staying at a nearby US air base, and helicoptered in each day. Not surprisingly, a request to widen the street from the heliport to the hotel where the G7 is meeting was refused.
So why am I in Taormina? Clearly not for the G7! I am here with two good friends for two weeks to explore and enjoy this beautiful ancient town. We plan to wander those narrow and bendy streets, sip cocktails in bars overlooking the Mediterranean, enjoy the view of majestic Mt Etna from our balcony, eat good Italian food, drink good Italian coffee, and do whatever else takes our fancy.
Early this morning I went for a walk with my camera, and watched the town come to life. It was eerily quiet and the light was perfect. Here is a taste of what I saw.