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A former Dominican monastery of the 15th century, San Domenico Palace was transformed into a hotel in 1896 and although reminders of its monastic past are preserved throughout the structure – the cloister, the choir stalls, the sacristy and the friars’ cells – this is not a place where one withdraws from the pleasures of the world. The heart-stopping views of both the sea and of Mt. Etna, the enchanting gardens, the terrace restaurant framed by bougainvillea, the well-appointed rooms and a staff that is dedicated to spoiling its guests make the San Domenico experience, might I suggest, sinful?

The cuisine of its restaurant, thanks to Master Chef Massimo Mantarro, satisfies in every way. Using only the freshest produce and fruits from the sea and the land, Massimo creates dishes that are simple and authentic, with an emphasis on delicate flavors and good health, and therein lie the riches of a meal at his table.  

As an artist, I was gratified to see the Monastery’s treasures preserved and incorporated into the décor of today’s hotel, where careful attention has been paid to also preserving an environment of restful retreat. If one can bring oneself to leave the premises, San Domenico’s proximity to the sights and shopping in Taormina, all within walking distance, make it a perfect base from which to explore the city and to enjoy the environs of Mt. Etna.  A stay at San Domenico is nothing short of pure magic.

February 2006

All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson

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San Domenico Palace Hotel

Piazza San Domenico, 5, 98039 Taormina ~ Sicily, Italy

San Domenico Palace Hotel ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson

This hotel is featured in my travel story: Sensational Sicily