Sarah Black Photography

A week in Taormina (part two of That Winter We Went to Europe Instead)

family, film, travelsarah black

In 2017 our family took two months off to head to Spain and Sicily. We travelled a month in each, spending a week at each destination, staying in villas and airbnb accommodations, generally perching in more out of the way places and just immersing ourselves in everything local. I blogged the Spanish part of the trip quite some time ago, after making albums, but have only just gotten around to making the two Italian albums, and so having enjoyed revisiting these photos. I thought I’d share some favourites in case I can inspire anyone else to head off on whatever family adventure might be lurking at the back of their dreams. I believe in the value of travelling anywhere at all really, even if it’s to the next suburb on the weekend, but this is a truly jawdropping part of the world and I’d encourage anyone to spend a month driving around the beautiful island of Sicily, should that opportunity every present itself. First stop for us after flying into Catania was Taormina, a gorgeous seaside town perched above and below the eastern cliffs of this part of the coast, with glorious Mt Etna (an active volcano and a very worthwhile day trip away) in the background. There an ancient amphitheatre, authentic and interesting shopping ( I’m not really a shopper, but I loved the stores here and bought handmade pottery and beautiful linen patterned in very subtle pumpkins and grapes) and the best granita in the world (or so we were told, and it was easy to believe). We stayed in an apartment down near the beach, and there is a very cool Funicular (cable car to transport you up to the main street for dining and shopping and people watching).

These photos are fairly documentary, as when in public (by which I mean any single person can potentially see them) my kids are much more reluctant to do anything for my camera which might draw attention to them - which is hilarious because quite often they naturally do things, like having punch ups in a very small and densely populated cable car, which definitely draws attention to them, but there you have it.

We generally avoid big cities where we can, and so Taormina was just big enough to be able to explore fully, and get to know a little bit: things which still stand out in our memories are sand like hot gravel (or sand which is actually hot gravel, same/same), our only experience of one of those funny Italian beaches where you have to pay to sit in a chair but which was so worth it because a choir of considerable talent seemed to be having their annual sing-off in a bar above and delivered a spectacular free concert to anyone within hearing distance, Sardines Beccafico, wordless games of soccer in the street outside our apartment with the little boy who lived downstairs, Aperol Spritz (which seems to be the town’s official drink, so when in Rome, and Taormina…), a day clambering over the lower slopes of Mt Etna, granita good enough to queue for, a day trip to Ortigia, more granita, and the view from the cable car.

Next up, Noto, further toward the southeast corner of Sicily, followed by Menfi, higher up on the southwest, and finally the island of Favignana, off the western coast.

//Sarah Black is one of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula's most sought after family and newborn baby photographers. If you are interested in finding out more about commissioning a natural, soulful photography session to capture this time in the life of your family, children or a newborn baby, either in your own home or on location anywhere in Melbourne, please get in touch here. Weekends book out around 6 weeks in advance (weekday times are more readily available), so if you are considering booking a session then please get in touch asap to reserve your date.//