Messina, Sicily: Mediterranean Beauty That Stands Firm

Messina is a port town situated on the eastern part of the island of Sicily, right at the Strait of the same name, and is just three miles off the coast of southern Italy’s mainland. The city’s port has a sickle-shaped layout and it has been known as a strong trading hub for centuries.

Ferries are the main mode of transportation between Sicily and the motherland, even though a bridge has been debated for centuries which would connect Sicily with the tip of the high-heeled boot that is Italy.

A Little Bit of History

This port city has a complex history that has its roots in Greek mythology, but the 1900’s earthquakes and the damage during the World War II has made this city architecturally young.

The View of Messina Old Town, Sicily, Italy - The old town of Messina is a great place to start exploring the city. Piazza del Duomo, the center of old town, offers the Cathedral, Bell Tower and the Orion fountain that every history and architecture lover would enjoy.The view of Messina Old City, Siciliy

As elsewhere in the far South of Italy, Greeks founded this port town and named it after king Zanclus, under whose order the port was built. Messina was ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Swabians and eventually the Angevins successively, and they have all left their marks on this city.

Messina became glorious under the dynasty of Aragon, which made it the capital of Sicily. Since the city was rebuilt after the earthquake, you can see an interesting blend of new and old architectural styles.

Panorama of Messina Port in the Evening, Sicily, Italy - Messina is a port town on the eastern part of Sicily best known as a trading hub. The port and the city are overlooked by the statue of the Madonna della Lettera. The city offers many interesting attractions, lovely cafes and restaurants and an authentic atmosphere of an island.Panorama of Messina port in the evening, Sicily

The people of Messina rebuilt the city in an earthquake-proof fashion. They widened the streets and boulevards, and reduced the permitted height of the buildings. Despite its turbulent past, it is a lively place with many colorful festivals and events.

The Ride of the Giants, when the horses carry the statues of Grifone and Mata through the city, happen on August 13th-14th each year. This is celebrated in honor of Messina’s mythical founder.

Port of Messina, Sicily, Italy - Messina is the third largest city in Sicily wtih a sickle-shaped port overlooked by the Madonna statue at its entrance. The city, also known as "the door to Sicily", is a great access port for all the wonders this island has to offer.Port of Messina, Sicily

The next day, people and not horses carry papier mache figures through the streets. Originally this was a celebration to honor the origins of the city, but nowadays, the religious spirit is more pronounced in these celebrations.

Where is Messina?


  • 32.3 miles/ 52 km from Taormina, Sicily, Italy
  • 139.1 miles/ 224 km from Palermo, Sicily, Italy
  • 62.1 miles/ 100 km from Catania, Sicily, Italy
  • 306.3 miles/ 493 km from Naples, Italy
  • 405.1 miles/ 652 km from Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
  • 431.8 miles/ 695 km from Rome, Italy
  • 67.7 miles/ 109 km from Catania International Airport, Sicily, Italy
  • 159 miles/ 256 km from Palermo Airport, Sicily, Italy
  • 80.1 miles/ 129 km from Lamezia Terme International Airport, Italy
  • 312.5 miles/ 503 km from Naples International Airport, Italy

Things to See

  • Duomo
  • Orologio Astronomico
  • Fontana di Orione


  • Pollara Beach
  • Brolo
  • Capo Calava


  • Museo Regionale
  • Taormina
  • Mt. Etna
  • The Aeolian Isles

Messina is conveniently located in Sicily at the tip of the Italian mainland, and an interesting spot to visit as you navigate your cruise around Italy.

Sicily itself is well worth a visit, and this port city is access port for the wonders which you will discover in this unique island.

We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!