The steep terrain of Taormina dives into the clear water of the Ionian Sea, and at a narrow neck of land joining the nature reserve of Isola Bella to the Sicilian mainland is the free "beach" zone. The calm water and rocky shore is more reminiscent of a salty lake than an ocean experience, and the water was on the frigid side of tropical. Childhood fun is more about building cairns than sandcastles. Nearby are a number of sandy lido complete with the necessary paraphenalia for an Italian beach outing. I was yet to be versed in the etiquette of such formal beach visitation and so stayed clear for fear of committing a social faux pax. I have since learnt that even on a paid beach the narrow strip of sand along the high water line is fair game. The Italian Union of Bathing Establishments (yes, there is such an organisation) states in the beach code that fat and ugly women should not bathe topless, that mobile phones should be silent to avoid waking napping neighbours, and that children should not take up "half the beach" with their sandcastles. So sit down on your rental chair, be quiet and look pretty.