Italy’s public squares come in all shapes and sizes, and some are decidedly more beautiful than others. Taormina’s main square, Piazza IX Aprile, is both popular and gorgeous - which is why it features so prominently in many Taormina photographs.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Piazza IX Aprile is the paving - rather than a simple gray stone surface, the piazza looks a bit like a giant chessboard with its oversized alternating black and white marble squares. The impact is striking, especially on a sunny day.
The ornate Church of St. Joseph, built in the 17th century, overlooks the square, and its bright pink and white facade gleams against the black and white squares. Another building on the piazza is the 15th century St. Augustine, a former church that now serves as Taormina’s library. The passageway in the 12th century clock tower on one side of the piazza leads to the Borgo Medievale, one of Taormina’s oldest districts.
Many streets and piazzas in Italy are named after important dates in Italian history, which is where the name Piazza IX Aprile comes in. Although Giuseppe Garibaldi, a leader in the unification efforts, didn’t actually land on Sicily until early May in 1860, a rumor spread through Taormina on April 9 that Garibaldi had landed at Marsala. The rumor may have been a month early, but the locals still preserve the news of that April date in the name of their main square.