Two English women who came to Taormina for very different reasons left their mark.
Whilst walking in the welcoming public gardens we discovered a named statue of a woman; which is a rarity in any country. She was Florence Trevelyan who came to Sicily in 1884 to escape the scandal of a “sentimental liaison” with Edward VII. She fell in love with the town and also conveniently married one of the town’s wealthiest men and devoted herself to creating the public gardens, which we are still benefitting from today.
The other English woman was Daphne Phelps. In 1947, she inherited a house, Casa Cuseni, a rambling run down mansion on the edge of Taormina, set in about two acres of land.
She was encoutraged to sell the house, but instead devoted her life to its upkeep, by taking in artists and writers, making enough to keep it going. Greta Garbo, Tennessee Williams and Bertrand Russell all stayed there for the peace and quiet and views of Etna. Daphne wrote the book A House in Sicily about her time in Taormina and you can still get a tour of the house and garden by private appointment.