The church of the Madonna della Rocca in Taormina dates back to the 12th century.
Restored in 1600, it stands on a small mountain overlooking Taormina and is located a few steps from the Saraceno Castle. Its name reflects the fact that it was carved into a rock with the architecture being somewhat modest and rustic.
On the façade, there is the door that has jambs in the threshold and architraves in Taormina stone, two symmetrical windows, and the Sacristy of the church.
The small hermitage behind the church has been abandoned for many years, while on the south-east side there is an open space that used to be the garden of the hermits, and is located on the edge of the rock on which the church stands.
On the edge of this square, there is a large concrete cross, which dominates the whole of Taormina and is visible from far away.
This Cross was built in 1930, during a mission of the Redemptorist Fathers, a religious congregation founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.
For those who love panoramic views, a visit to the church of the Madonna della Rocca and its wonderful panoramic balcony overlooking Taormina, Mount Etna and the bay of Giardini Naxos will be a must.
The view can be enjoyed from the lovely panoramic balcony and is undoubtedly the most beautiful viewpoint in Taormina. The view is made even better by the nearby Greek Theater, the Saracen Castle, and the unique beauty of the Ionian Sea.
The origin of the sanctuary is surrounded by myth. Legend has it that a young shepherd from the nearby village of Mola grazed with his flock on the mountain, when suddenly a storm forced him to take refuge with the sheep in the nearby cave. As the storm raged outside the cave, during the dazzling light of lightning, the young man began to feel uncomfortable when the image of a beautiful lady dressed in blue reassured him that the storm was about to end.
The woman, all enlightened and shining, was holding a blond child in her arms, who smiled at him with maternal sweetness. The young shepherd’s reaction was to run away so scared that he abandoned the sheep in the cave, and he ran to tell his parents what had happened, but they accused him of being a liar and a visionary.
But the young man did not give up and continued to insist, persuading his parents to go with him to the cave, also because there were sheep to take home.
In the cave, they found the image of the woman seen shortly before by the shepherd, but the painting that reproduced the child’s head was missing.
Enjoy history, architecture and fables like this one? Add Taormina to your Classic Sicily itinerary and get ready to make some amazing memories.