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 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
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
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
- Orologio Astronomico
- Fontana di Orione
- Pollara Beach
- Capo Calava
- Museo Regionale
- 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!