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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

Messina and its surroundings: discover the wonders of the northeastern coast of Sicily.


capo peloro

Messina, a captivating city brimming with history, is situated on the northeastern coast of Sicily.

Located at the northeastern tip of Sicily, Messina stands as a city that's both captivating and steeped in history, deserving of every traveler's attention. Founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC, the city has been the prize of many civilizations over the centuries, including the Romans, Normans, and Arabs. This rich tapestry of history is evident in the city's architecture and its unique culture.

One of the first things you'll notice upon arriving in Messina is its harbor, which has served as a significant trade hub for centuries. Today, the port stands as one of the city's main gateways, offering panoramic views of the Strait of Messina. A stroll along the harbor, watching boats come and go, is highly recommended.

But Messina's allure doesn't stop at its harbor. The city is renowned for its diverse architectural styles. The Messina Cathedral, a significant city landmark, was built in the 12th century and underwent renovations after the 1908 earthquake. This cathedral is a blend of Norman and Gothic architecture. Inside, you can admire exquisite artworks, including a statue of St. John the Baptist sculpted by Antonello Gagini.

Other notable landmarks in Messina include the Palazzo della Cultura and the Church of San Francesco d'Assisi. The Palazzo della Cultura, an imposing structure located in the city's main square, was built in 1924 and hosts significant cultural events and art exhibitions. In contrast, the Church of San Francesco d'Assisi is a beautiful representation of Sicilian Baroque architecture, housing frescoes and sculptures depicting scenes from St. Francis's life.

Messina's culinary scene is also a highlight. The city offers a plethora of traditional Sicilian dishes, from pasta alla norma and caponata to fresh seafood. Don't miss out on the Sicilian granita, a delightful icy beverage made from sugar and fresh fruit.

Here's a list of the main attractions and things to see and do in Messina:


  • Messina Cathedral: This significant historical monument is a blend of Norman and Gothic architectural styles, and inside it houses artworks, including the statue of Saint John the Baptist sculpted by Antonello Gagini.

  • Orion's Fountain: Located in the city center, this 18th-century Baroque fountain represents Greek and Roman mythology.

  • Piazza del Duomo: One of the largest and most famous squares in Messina, overlooking the sea and the Clock Tower.

  • Church of San Francesco d'Assisi: This example of Sicilian Baroque architecture houses frescoes and sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Saint Francis.

  • Regional Museum: This museum hosts significant collections of Sicilian art and archaeology, including works by Antonello da Messina.

  • Forte del Santissimo Salvatore: A 16th-century fortress located on the Capo Peloro hill, offering panoramic views of the city and the Strait of Messina.

  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III: A 19th-century shopping gallery with frescoes and mosaics, located in the city center.

  • Beaches: Messina offers several beaches, including Capo Peloro, Mortelle, and Torre Faro. Here you can enjoy the crystal-clear sea and the Mediterranean climate.

  • Gastronomy: Messina offers a wide range of traditional Sicilian dishes, including pasta alla norma, caponata, and fresh fish. Additionally, we recommend trying the Sicilian granita, a delightful drink made from crushed ice, sugar, and fresh fruit.

  • Excursions: If you're a nature and adventure lover, we suggest participating in excursions to the nearby Capo Peloro Nature Reserve or the Aeolian Islands, which are easily accessible by boat.

Messina offers a wide range of attractions and activities for all tastes, allowing you to discover its history, culture, and natural beauty.


traghetto Messina Calabria

Here are the main ferry connections from Messina to Calabria:


  • Caronte & Tourist: This company offers daily connections between Messina and Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, with departures every 20-30 minutes from 6:00 am to 12:00 am. The crossing duration is about 20 minutes.

  • Bluferries: This company provides connections between Messina and Reggio Calabria, with departures every hour from 5:00 am to 12:00 am. The crossing duration is approximately 45 minutes.

  • Liberty Lines: This company offers connections between Messina and various locations in Calabria, including Reggio Calabria, Villa San Giovanni, Scilla, and Bagnara Calabra. The schedules and rates vary depending on the destination.

  • Traghetti delle Isole: This company provides connections between Messina and the Aeolian Islands, with stops in Milazzo and Vulcano. The schedules and rates vary depending on the destination.


Ticket prices vary depending on the company and the chosen destination. It's recommended to check the schedules and rates on the official websites of the shipping companies. Additionally, tickets can be purchased online or at the ticket offices located in the departure ports.


messina

Here are some attractions you can visit near Messina:


  • Aeolian Islands: These stunning volcanic islands are accessible by ferry from Milazzo or Messina. Here, you can admire the crystal-clear sea, black sand beaches, and pristine nature.

  • Taormina: This beautiful medieval town is located about an hour's drive from Messina and is famous for its Greek Theatre, baroque architecture, and breathtaking panoramic views of the sea.

  • Capo Peloro Nature Reserve: Located just a few kilometers north of Messina, this nature reserve offers beautiful beaches, nature trails, lagoons, and a rich flora and fauna.

  • Reggio Calabria: Located on the opposite coast of the Strait of Messina, this city offers a rich history, a beautiful promenade, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Reggio Calabria Cathedral.

  • Scilla: This picturesque seaside town is located a few kilometers south of Messina and is famous for its beach, Ruffo Castle, and the myth of Scylla and Charybdis.

  • Milazzo Castle: This medieval castle is located about an hour's drive from Messina and is one of the most important historical monuments in Sicily.

  • Alcantara Gorges: These spectacular volcanic gorges are located about an hour's drive from Messina and offer a unique and evocative landscape.


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