We spent the morning with our local guides, touring the picturesque hill-town of Taormina, a former Greek settlement. We walked down Taormina’s main street, Corso Umberto, and visited Palazzo Corvaja, which is known for a mixture of architectural styles, including Norman, Arab and Gothic. We ended our tour at the Teatro Greco, a third-century BC theater where the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes were performed. The theater was later enlarged by the Romans. Those who climbed to the upper level were rewarded with views of Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos below. Afterward, we had free time to explore and shop for colorful souvenirs and tasty treats, from olive oil to gelato.

The highlight of the day was our lunch at Castello delgi Schivai, an 18th-century villa that was used in The Godfather movies. We were greeted by the owner with hors d'oeuvres and drinks, then watched scenes from The Godfather movies before taking a short tour. Afterward, we enjoyed a grand feast with live traditional music.

We returned to Sea Cloud and sailed through the Straits of Messina, which separates mainland Italy from the island of Sicily. The narrow passageway is only two miles wide at the northern end. The strait is where Odysseus narrowly escaped in Homer’s Odyssey.