Spectacularly located on a terrace of Monte Tauro with views westwards to Mt Etna, Taormina is a beautiful small town, reminiscent of Capri or an Amalfi coastal resort. Over the centuries, Taormina has seduced an exhaustive line of writers and artists, aristocrats and royalty, and these days it is host to a summer arts festival that packs the town with international visitors. Perched on its eyrie, Taormina is sophisticated, chic and comfortably cushioned by some serious wealth and very far removed from the banal economic realities of other Sicilian towns. But the charm is not manufactured. The capital of Byzantine Sicily in the 9th century, Taor-mina is an almost perfectly preserved medieval town, and if you can tear yourself away from the shopping and sunbathing, it has a wealth of small but perfect tourist sites. Taormina is also a popular resort with gay men. Be warned that in July and August the town is choked with tourists and the only space left on the beach may well be next to the rubbish bins.