The Greek Theatre of Taormina is the most fascinating historical monument of the “pearl of the Ionian Sea”. It is one of the world most popular tourist attractions, that Johann Wolfgang Goethe in his famous “Journey to Italy” wrote: “No theater audience has ever had such a sight in front.”
The greek-Roman theater is divided into three parts: the scene, the orchestra and the auditorium.
The stage, which is in front of the auditorium, is the place where the actors played and According to the experts’ reconstruction, this part was decorated with two rows of columns, one on top of the other. The stage has also three large arched openings at a symmetric distance from each other, , and six niches placed three on the right and three on the left of the central arch.
On the stage there are the remains of six column bases and four Corinthian columns that were raise after 1860.
The cavea is made by a staircase that starting from the bottom and climbing upward, opens up to the top, where usually spectators sat. The orchestra is the lowest level of the whole theatre. This space was intended for musicians who played during the performances.
Dug directly in the hard rock of Mount Tauro, in the third century BC, it could accommodate thousands of sitting spectators.
It is known that the Greeks architects used to build their most important buildings as if Nature could be part of them, so the natural scenery was integrated with the architecture of the theatre. As the light and air could come through the coloumns, even the natural scenery were integrated to the theatre architecture.
The theatre shape could allow, at the same time, a perfect listening from any area of the auditorium.
In the late imperial period, the theatre was adapted for gladiatorial games, and later, with the fall of the western empire, fall into disuse. The marbles were removed and so the monumental columns. Only after the end of the war, some sections of the original construction were completed through a great restoration work .