Sicily as a perfect place for Love and Passion Storie

Taormina and the International Gay Community

The international gay community has always loved Taormina, where one of the first gay club of Europe was founded: “Le Perroquet ”, despite the typically conservative attitudes of many Sicilians and the Catholic Church. In fact it was in Taormina, beginning in the 1950’s, where movie star Rock Hudson used to spend his vacations with his closest friends, who included the American novelist Armistead Maupin, as well as his lovers Jack Coates (born 1944); Hollywood publicist Tom Clark (1933–1995), who also later published a memoir about Hudson (Rock Hudson: Friend of Mine); and Marc Christian. Here, far from Hollywood, with its paparazzi and curious journalists (in 1955 Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexual life) Hudson and friends enjoyed their Sicilian vacations in peace.. But long before Hudson and his friends arrived, gay artists and writers from Europe and America flocked to Taormina. One of the most famous, and perhaps most scandalous, was the German baron Wilhelm Von Gloeden, whose 19th century nude photographs of local men in classical Roman, Greek and Arab settings still can be bought in souvenir shops in Sicily.

by Vanvakys Edited by George De Stefano

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from AmuniSicily.com #4, Wikipedia.com, edited by Vanvakys

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Taormina “The pearl of the Mediterranean Sea”

Taormina, just 30 minutes by car north of Catania and south of Messina, has displayed its beauty in many films, whether it’s a seaside scene in “Isola Bella”, (“Beautiful Island”) and “Lido Spisone” (“Spisone Beach”) or the countryside between prickles and gorses or a chase through the streets among The Greek-Roman Theater, columns and baths,Medieval Arab and Norman  fortresses and palaces of the nobles. Taormina, justly called the “The Pearl of the Mediterranean Sea”, boasts lovely narrow streets and many steps. It’s a colorful place full of elegant shops, cozy restaurants, typical trattorie and wine bars all around the main streets. Taormina’s world-wide reputation comes from its natural and architectural beauties. A wonderful and unique view greets you when you arrive at the main square at the “Belvedere”: a spectacular panorama framed by Naxos Beach bay, the South Coast of Sicily, and the smoking volcano of Mount Etna, with its perennial snow on the top. With such spectacular views, it’s no surprise that Taormina has been a location for hundreds of films. Read more about the movies:The Ionian coast of Sicily as a natural movie Set

Taormina and the International Gay Community

The international gay community has always loved Taormina, where one of  the first gay club of Europe  was founded:  “Le Perroquet ”, despite the typically conservative attitudes of many Sicilians and the Catholic Church. In fact it was in Taormina, beginning in the 1950’s, where movie star Rock Hudson used to spend his vacations with his closest friends,..Read more about the stories
Do not miss Castel Mola,  above Taormina, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy,  a picturesque settlement with its thirteenth-century castle, ancient houses, tourist-oriented craft shops and little bars and “trattorias” facing  an  enchanting panorama. Do not forget to sip a  refreshing glass of sweet wine ,Vino alla Mandorla (sweet almond wine) or enjoy granita or gelato at Bar Turrisi. You will be amazed and perhaps delighted by the bar’s unique décor – penises of all sizes and shapes, made from all kinds of materials. (The phallus has been a fertility symbol in Mediterranean societies since ancient times).
For a less pagan experience, visit the “Duomo”, (the cathedral) and several smaller churches within the narrow little streets, like the Church of San Giorgio (1450), which has within its walls an artistic masterpiece — a  statue of St. George on his charger.

Read more about the The Ionian coast of Sicily as a natural movie SetRead more about: Siciliana to Discover  (refresh links on Siciliana to discover  in home page  column 3)    and Cinema, SicilyArt.com,