Nestled to the north of Taormina, Letojanni is a popular coastal resort. The town outlines the gulf and enjoys a year-round mild climate and abundant sunshine to warm the beaches and make the water of the Ionian sparkle. The beaches are a mix of fine sand and small pebbles and stretch down to Taormina.
Letojanni started out as a small fishing town without a name. It was merely called the "marina" for Gallodoro, the hillside town that was the primary center and habitation. Buildings and homes sprang up to house the fishermen, and a medical clinic was opened, which drew people from the surrounding areas. The arrival of the railroad and the highway road opened up the previously isolated area and brought sun-seeking tourists. Tourism especially started to boom in the 1950s. The name and autonomy was bestowed and it became a town in its own right. The name "Letojanni" is said to derive from the Sicilian pronunciation of "lieti anni" meaning happy years.
There are turn-of-the-century palaces that lend Letojanni an affluent air. The Villa Hauser has splendid gardens to enjoy. Palazzo Durante is a castle-like structure with a crenellated roofline and a central tower that was built by Dr. Durante, the medical clinic's founder. The Piazza named for him is the city's drawing room, a pretty palm-lined space that is dominated by the charming church of San Giuseppe, which was built in neogothic style with a bell tower and a round Romanesque-like rose window. There are lovely mosaics inside and a decorative balustrade outside. The first Sunday of August celebrates the patron saint with a sea-going procession that carries the statue of the saint on a boat.
Letojanni enjoys a lively atmosphere with sun-filled piazzas, shop-lined streets, and plenty of cafes and restaurants to taste the region's specialties. Throughout the summer you'll find lots of activities with music, shows and festivals. There are water sports for the active vacationers, horseback riding in the citrus-scented hills, and relaxing spas, as well.
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