Isola Bella (Isula Bedda, in Sicilian dialect, and Beautiful Island, in English) is a small island located near the beach with the same name, in the Ionian Sea, in Taormina. Sometimes, when the tide is low, Isola Bella connects to the beach through a narrow sandy strip, becoming a peninsula.
The beach in front of the island is also beautiful, but is made of pebbles and the sea floor is rocky, making it uncomfortable for some people. The beach is free, but the entrance to the Isola Bella Nature Reserve costs 4 euros. The island can be visited every day, except Monday, starting with 9.00 am.
The island was donated in 1806 by Ferdinand I of Bourbon to Pancrazio Ciprioti, Mayor of Taormina. In 1890, it was purchased by Florence Trevelyan, who built a small house on the island. The island was later inherited by the lawyer Cesare Acrosso, the godson adopted by Salvatore Cacciola, husband of Florence Trevelyan.
In 1954, Isola Bella was bought for 38,000₤ by the brothers Leone and Emilio Bosurgi, who built a village with 12 autonomous residences and a tiny swimming pool nearby, in order to host their friends. The Bosurgi family owned Sanderson, a historic citrus processing company. In 1982, the bankruptcy of the company led to the sale by auction of the family assets, including the island.
On October 8, 1984, at the request of the Municipality of Taormina, the Regional Department of Cultural Heritage declared the island a natural monument, and certain restrictions were applied.
After several auctions, the island was finally purchased in 1990 by the Department of Cultural Heritage of Sicily and, in 1998, a nature reserve was established, managed at first by the WWF, then by the Province of Messina and recently by the CUTGANA, the environmental protection center of the University of Catania.
HOW TO GET THERE
Isola Bella is about 2.2 kilometers away from Taormina and about 2.5 kilometers from Taormina-Giardini train station. The access to the beach is made from the national road SS 114 via a staircase.
To get to Isola Bella from Taormina, you can take the Taormina-Mazzarò cable car. The ticket costs 3.00€ and you will reach the island in just a few minutes. As an alternative, you can take the bus 25. The bus ticket is 2.00€.