When Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, opened its doors in 1873, it not only became Taormina’s very first hotel, but also quickly rose to fame as a pioneer in putting Sicily on the map. Boasting captivating views of nearby Mount Etna and adjoining the ancient Greek theatre, the hotel’s unique blend of history and mystique inspired great works of art and literature for years to come. This year the hotel will celebrate its 150th anniversary and to mark the milestone, the hotel has curated a series of cultural moments that invite guests to discover all that has earned Timeo its legendary status, whilst capturing the true spirit of Villeggiatura.

Highlights include Michelin-starred Executive Chef Roberto Toro taking his culinary craft beyond the hotel walls, to unique locations across the island; the launch of a limited edition Etna wine bottle; a new contemporary art installation in Timeo’s gardens, as part of the MITICO artistic series in collaboration with Galleria Continua; and the publication of the hotel’s first book, honouring its rich history, the people who have kept it alive, and the beautiful landscapes that surround it.


Prussian baron Otto Geleng first put Grand Hotel Timeo on the map in 1863, travelling to Taormina for creative inspiration. He rented a room in Italian aristocrat Don Francesco La Floresta’s private home where he began painting. Geleng’s series of watercolours depicting the stunning views from the residence, gained fame and recognition across Europe, putting Taormina firmly on the map. Soon, artists from far and wide flocked to the charming town, making the residence a popular destination for creatives, and the home was transformed into the iconic Grand Hotel Timeo, becoming a must-visit stop on Italy’s Grand Tour – a rite of passage for those seeking cultural enrichment. This fascinating history will be immortalised in a special book, which will be published in Spring 2023 and gifted to hotel’s guests.


Michelin-starred Executive Chef Roberto Toro, at the helm of Timeo’s renowned Otto Geleng restaurant with notorious views of Mount Etna, has curated an inaugural series of seasonal gastronomic moments inspired by the legendary hotel’s French menu, from the 19th Century. Throughout this century, under the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies rule, it became custom amongst noble families to have a French cook (the Monsù) in the kitchen. The culinary series will pop-up in exclusive locations across the island including the Pietradolce winery – an acclaimed winery on the Northern slopes of Etna, with vineyards extending over 11 hectares at a height of 600 and 900 feet above sea level. Here, the hotel has collaborated with the Faro family, owners of Pietradolce, on 150 collectible limited edition wine bottles in honour of the hotel’s anniversary, with hand painted labels by local artist Alessandro Florio.


In 2022 Grand Hotel Timeo’s six-acre gardens, designed by English gardener and pioneering wildlife conservationist Florence Trevelyan at the end of XIX century, welcomed contemporary installations by Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou, as part of a wider artistic collaboration between Belmond and Galleria Continua, entitled MITICO. This year, the series will return to Grand Hotel Timeo for a second year, with a new installation launching in May 2023, open to guests and visitors until December 2023.


The term “villeggiatura” is an intrinsic Italian concept, referring to a prolonged stay in a single place, a sense of belonging in a foreign land, a stay whose sole purpose is rest and recreation. An expression at the heart of the Grand Hotel Timeo experience, the hotel’s 150th anniversary cultural series draws on this emotional connection to travel, as well as the property’s central role on the island. As Massimiliano Puglisi, General Manager of Grand Hotel Timeo says: “We are proud to celebrate Timeo, one of the icons of Sicilian identity. I am grateful to the hotel team for their passion: it is thanks to this genuine love for the property that we are regarded as a cultural landmark. We strongly believe in paying tribute to our heritage whilst continuously innovating our offering with beautiful storytelling. With 150 years behind us we look towards the future with great confidence.”

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