We were instantly charmed by the narrow, winding, crooked cobblestone streets of Taxco. Less charming was driving our car up these streets to the parking lot, but after several tense minutes and a couple of near misses with the aggressive cabs, we got rid of the car and spent the next days wandering by foot. We stayed in the beautiful Hotel Emilia Castillo, near the zocalo, or central market. The hotel rooms are decorated with traditional Mexican furnishings, and the and interior courtyard lobby and bar contain unique ceramic bowls and dishes inlaid with silver designed by the Castillo family. Most of these exquisite bowls are sold to Nieman Marcus, but you can also purchase them at the silver store in the lobby. We spent many evening hours in this lobby, playing chess, reading, and getting to know the very friendly Castillos.
Like other cities we have visited in Mexico, Taxco was a silver mining town exploited by the Spanish from the 1500s to the late 1700s. The city went into decline when the mines were largely depleted, but was rejeuvinated through the development of silver workshops to use the amounts of silver remaining. Within a few block radius of the zocolo, almost every store was a silver shop, restaurant, or hotel.
The cobblestone streets of Taxco were especially interesting as designs, often representing the name of the street, were included as white stones in the street itself. We spent most of the days wandering the streets, browsing in the silver shops, and enjoying our meals on balconies overlooking the many squares and churches of Taxco.