Famous visitors to Taormina

Some of the great names to visit Taormina on a Grand Tour

There's something about Taormina that many of its most famous visitors are connected, in some way, to sex.

Most famous perhaps, was D. H. Lawrence, who found at Taormina the inspiration for his feverishly sensual Lady Chatterley's Lover. According to local rumor, the story was based on his own wife's intimate dalliances with a Sicilian mule driver.

Taormina's little shops do a brisk business in over-priced Sicilian crafts and postcard photos of sepia-toned nubile youths. These soft-core pics were snapped by Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden and his late 19C / early 20C contemporaries, who flocked here for, well, for nubile youths. Taormina has been one of Europe's top gay resorts since its Greek days.

In the 20th century its role as a haven for homosexuals on holiday has meshed well enough with the local traditionalist peasantry, the middle-class crowds of latter-day mass tourists, and the jet-set of famous writers—including Oscar Wilde, Goethe, Alexander Dumas, Truman Capote (who lived here for a year), and Guy de Maupassant—and Hollywood glitterati, all of whom continue to show up in droves.

Taormina has been a favorite over the decades of everyone from silver screen icon Greta Garbo, who returned every spring for 30 years, to composers Wagner and Brahms.

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