san domenico palace hotel

Photos courtesy of San Domenico Palace Hotel








In 1430, Damiano Rosso, a prominent member of the princely Rosso di Altavilla family of Catania, donated all his earthly property to this monastery when he took the vows to become a Dominican monk.

Damiano’s will contained a certain proviso, however, that came to the forefront when the State arrived to confiscate church property in 1866. The fine print of the will stated that if the monks ever abandoned—forcibly or not—the monastery, the property was to return to Damiano’s heirs.

In 1896, Damiano Rosso’s descendants opened the former monastery-palace as a hotel.

Pamela’s Perspective

The choice you must make at the San Domenico Palace is over what kind of room and view you desire. If you opt for a somewhat smaller room in the old wing, you have a wonderful view of Mt. Etna. Rooms in the new section of the hotel are larger and have views of the sea, and if you want an unobstructed view be sure to request a room on the third floor.

Keep in mind, too, that the San Domenico Palace in is right the town of Taormina, with a road running past it. Don’t expect the dead silence of a countryside hotel.


San Domenico Palace Hotel

A 15th-century monastery


Piazza San Domenico, 5
98039 Taormina
Tel: ++39 0942 613 111
Hotel website
Reserve with

Fast facts

93 rooms; 15 suites

Double rooms: from 283 euros
Suites: from 574 euros
Rates include breakfast and tax.

Open: mid-March through December

Getting there

The hotel is in the center of Taormina; the nearest train station is 6 km away.

What to do

On site: swimming pool; health center
Nearby: excursions to Mt. Etna and Aeolian Islands


Yes. Inquire hotel for details.


The San Domenico Palace Hotel has been considered one of Italy’s greatest hotels for generations. A long list of notables, including Winston Churchill, John Steinbeck, assorted royalty, and a galaxy of movie stars have added to the hotel’s luster.

Not that it really needs it. Beautifully preserved, the atmosphere here is more of a palace than a monastery. Long, vaulted hallways decorated with 17th- and 18th-century paintings pass by cloisters, a church (now a meeting center), and paneled rooms filled with antiques.

Bursting with brilliant colored red trumpet flowers, bougainvillea, palms, and lemon trees, the garden is an oasis of beauty, with views of Mt. Etna, the sea, and the Greek theater.

Guest rooms lie either on the old monastic wing of the hotel or the newer “grand hotel,” which are a bit more richly furnished. In either side, the bed linens are divine and the bathrooms well appointed.

The former monk’s refectory is now a bar, warmed on cool nights by a fireplace. When the weather is fine, dinner is served al fresco on a lovely terrace.

Something special

curlicueExquisite public rooms