Taormina is a comune and small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century. It has popular beaches on the Ionian sea, which is remarkably warm and has a high salt content. Taormina can be reached via highways (autostrade) from Messina from the north and Catania from the south.
Many exhibitions and events are organized during the summer in Taormina. The exceptional stage for pop and classical concerts, opera and important performances often recorded by television is the Ancient Theatre. Since 1983, the most important performances are realized by Taormina Arte, the cultural institution which organizes one of the most famous music, theatre and dance festivals. Within the program of Taormina Arte there is the Taormina Film Fest, the well-known cinema festival, the heir of the Cinema Festival of Messina and Taormina, dating from 1960, which for about twenty years has hosted the David of Donatello Awards with the participation of the most famous Italian film stars. During the Taormina Film Fest the Silver Ribbons are now awarded, a prize created by Italian Film Journalists.
Since 2005, in October, Taormina Arte has organized the Giuseppe Sinopoli Festival, a festival dedicated completely to the great conductor, who died in 2001 and was for many years the artistic director of Taormina Arte.