Taormina’s Teatro Greco: Backdrop to G7 Summit
Perched on a hilltop with views of the Ionian coast and a smoking Mount Etna looming large in the distance, the ancient Greek Theater of Taormina is arguably one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. And though the Sicilian town boasts pretty vistas at every turn and houses endless amounts of antique shops and old churches, the horseshoe-shaped amphitheater is the area’s leading attraction. Originally used to stage plays and later on gladiator games, the Teatro Greco is now home to events ranging from fashion shows to musical performances and soon, too, the 2017 Group of Seven summit.
The G7 Take on Taormina
The G7 is a bloc of industrialized democracies that meet annually to help shape global responses to global challenges. Unlike say the UN or NATO, the G7 is not a formal institution with a charter and a secretariat. Instead, the presidency, which rotates annually among member states, is responsible for setting the agenda and arranging logistics. And in less than a month on May 26-27, Taormina will take on the task of hosting the forum, which brings together leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the EU.
The Italian government settled on this Sicilian mountaintop village as the meeting’s location for varied reasons. At the forefront, Sicily as whole is a cradle of the country’s civilization, calling to mind Archimedes—generally considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time—and Empedocles—the philosopher who originated the cosmogenic theory of the four classical elements. In regards to Taormina specifically, also known as the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea,” its natural beauty is unparalleled and its many offerings are indicative of la dolce vita. Not to mention, it’s the public answer to freeing the island of mafia misconceptions by highlighting this quintessential locale. The Italian G7 Presidency 2017 site reads, “The decision to hold the event in Sicily – and in particular in Taormina - highlights our capacity to unite hope and hospitality in a single shared effort. Located on a natural terrace overlooking the sea, this Sicilian city is considered one of the world’s most beautiful.”
Teatro Greco as the Summit’s Symbol
The symbol of the event is not accidental either: the Italian presidency opted for the Greek Theater. Built in the third century BC, it’s not only the most famous icon of Taormina, but also one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Today, it’s frequently associated with hosting the prestigious Taormina Film Fest, but in a matter of weeks the spot will welcome some of the most powerful world leaders as opposed to international celebrities.
The second largest of its kind in all of Sicily behind only Syracuse, the venue will serve as the backdrop for this year’s traditional family photo of the G7 heads of state and government. To be taken on the morning of May 27, the likes of Paolo Gentiloni, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Shinzō Abe, Theresa May, Donald Trump, and the new president of France will all pose together. In the second official photo, the G7 delegates will be joined by Donald Tusk (President of the European Council) and Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission).
Later on that evening, the group will return to attend a concert performed by the Milan based Teatro alla Scala orchestra, which is regarded globally as one of the leading opera and ballet theaters.