Taormina in the past years was a set of different films whose scenes, short or long, were shot in its streets or in its hotels or in the surrounding area. In chronological order we recall:
- the adventure, by Michelangelo Antonioni shot in 1960, in a final scene of the film a view from the window frames the ascent of taormina with Capo Taormina still without a hotel, and in the other the port of Giardini-naxos;
- Italian intrigue, by Giorgio Bianchi in 1960 with Ugo Tognazi, with the initial shots in the bay of Taormina, a revival of Taormina up to the Giardini Naxos bay from Castelmola, a boat trip on the bay of Taormina, a shot in piazza S Antantonio Abate, inside and outside the excelsior, Piazza IX Aprile, at the wunderbar and at the Greek theater;
- Italian divorce, by Pietro Germi in 1961, where part of the scenes were shot with the beautiful island in the background;
- le grand bleu, by Luc Besson from 1988, with scenes shot at the Taormina station and at the San Domenico in Taormina;
- the little devil, by Roberto Benigni from 1988, where most of the film is shot in Taormina;
- Johnny Stecchino, by Roberto Benigni from 1991, with scenes shot between Mazzeo, a fraction of Taormina, and Letojanni;
- the goddess of love, by Woody Allen in 1995, with a scene shot at the ancient theater of Taormina;
- grande grosso and Verdone, by Carlo Verdone from 2008, shot between Corso Umberto, San Domenico and the bay of Giardini Naxos
I personally was a spectator of Roberto Benigni’s shot at the Taormina train station exit in “the little devil”. La Braschi coming out of the station tried to figure out where to go and he, or Giuditta, put the weight door between her legs on in Taormina. On that day I was back from school and at the exit we came across Benigni sitting in his director’s chair reading, absorbed, a newspaper. We stayed there to watch the scene and at the clapperboard Benigni totally changed the way we were, fully entering the part and ending the scene without a flaw. It was an unusual experience. Another scene of which I was a protagonist is in the Godfather when they had to turn the scene at the Taormina railway station a few weeks after turning the main one with al Pacino.
Naturally Taormina in an indirect way has always been the center of attention of several artists linked to the cinema, either because of the presence of the casino, or because of the memories of Wilhelm von Gloeden’s Taormina, but above all for its position that makes it fascinating both in summer that in winter with typical Mediterranean frames much loved by the artists of the time and by today’s tourists.
In addition to being a movie set, Taormina was the venue for the awarding of the “Davide di Donatello” award, which every year, from 1957 to 1980, was performed at the ancient theater, attracting great personalities from the world of cinema and art in general.