City of Messina


The territory: Messina is located on the western shore of Sicily. The city has more than 240,000 inhabitants; it’s the capital of the province and includes 108 municipalities.

There are many factors that make the territory of Messina, rich resources to enhance and promote. The presence of a well-equipped and developed Porto, where the volume of traffic has a great importance both nationally and abroad. Of great cultural value is the Literary Park "Stefano d' Arrigo" set up in tribute to the great writer born in Messina.

The geographical position that puts the territory of Messina between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts and Peloritani is an extremely important aspect of tourism.

The presence of a vast natural heritage (Regional Natural Park of the Nebrodis; Regional Park of the Alcantara; Natural Reserve lakes of Marinello; Fiumedinisi and Natural Reserve of Monte Scuderi; Isola Bella Nature Reserve and many others), promotes exciting excursions immersed in green nature.

The sea, the coastline, beaches are another spectacular natural aspect. Among the many coasts refer, as well as the exceptional Aeolian Islands (Unesco World Heritage since 2000), also Capo d' OrlandoMilazzoTindari and Cape Calava of Gioiosa Marea, on the one hand, and Giardini Naxos and Taormina, on the other side.

Another rich resource of the territory of Messina is related to food and wine. In addition to numerous traditional products related to cooking, Messina is a prestigious stage in the touring of the best wines of Sicily. Among these to be mentioned, the "Malvasia delle Lipari DOC", the "Mamertinus DOC", the "Faro DOC“.

The main monuments: At the entrance of the port, the city of Messina welcomes visitors with an extraordinary statue of the Virgin Maria, a symbol of the city, built on a reinforced concrete column with stone of Trapani. The statue in gilded bronze and 7 meters high, was built by the artist Tore Edmund Calabrò. The image is that of the Blessed Virgin, who, in the act of blessing , holding in her left hand the Sacred Letter delivered by the Virgin Mary herself, to the embassy of Messina, who visited Palestine in the year '42, and bearing the inscription "Vos et ipsam civitatem benedicimus."  Today, The sacred words are transcribed on the base.

The city of Messina, despite being hit by one of the worst natural disasters ever existed, the earthquake of 1908, which completely razed to the ground the city, now boasts a wealth of great architectural value.

A heritage consisting of churches, historical buildings, theaters, museums, fountains authoritative importance of artistic, historic and cultural heritage.

The main cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, built in Norman times, has undergone several reconstructions, due to the collapse of several earthquakes, the bombing of the Second World War. The interior has a nave and two aisles divided by two rows of more than 20 columns, showing fascinating mosaics and, in particular, two beautiful artistic representations, the "Madonna and Child Enthroned " and " Christ crowning the Virgin." One of the most striking is the bell tower of the Cathedral, which, from its height of 60 meters, has a clock, with its mechanical gear, marks the hours and starts moving statues and recalling astronomical, religious and citizens episodes.

The Church of San Francesco d'Assisi is the first building of the Franciscan Order in Sicily, dating back to 1255. Too, suffered the violence of the earthquake of 1908, and was rebuilt according to the original architecture. Of this you can notice the two portals, the canopy of the main facade and the apse. In its long history the Church was enriched with many works of Antonelliana art school. The temple is known to the public as the ' " Immaculate " for the silver statue of the Virgin that guards. (Source: City of Messina).

The Church of Santa Maria degli Alemanni, dates from the thirteenth century, and is an example of Gothic architecture in Sicily. Recently renovated, the Church has inside, elegant arches and capitals of the Middle Ages, carved with floral motifs, human figures and bizarre monsters. The original portals are in the city museum. (Source: City of Messina).

The Church of Sant'Annunziata dei Catalani, was originally founded under the name of S. Maria di Castellammare in the twelfth century. However, by the end of 1400, after his donation to Peter of Aragon, it took the name of Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani. The building, which represents under the architectural point of view, an example of different styles on a late- Byzantine. The interior has three naves with a high dome. The exterior presents two rows of columns decorated with elegant capitals and arches connected by two-tone inlaid.

The historic center of Messina is rich in numerous fountains and statues. Among the most striking the Neptune Fountain, which dates back to 1557, is located in Piazza Unità d' Italy in front of the Government Palace. The Neptune Fountain symbolizes the act of appeasing the waters of the Strait while chaining the two furious sirens Scylla and Charybdis. The original statues of Neptune and Scilla are esposed in the Regional Museum.

Another beautiful fountain is that of Orion, located in Piazza Duomo, built in 1547 by the architect Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli. In front of the Town Hall, there is the statue of the Immaculate Conception, representing the Allegory of Messina, performed by Joseph Prinzi in 1852.

Between Via Garibaldi and Corso Cavour, there’s the famous Teatro Vittorio Emanuele II, built by Ferdinand II of Bourbon between 1842 and 1852. Originally, the name of the theater was "St. Elizabeth“, but in September 1860, with the Unification of Italy, the name became " Vittorio Emanuele II “. In 1862, the King Vittorio Emanuele II participated personally in a show in his honor.

Among the various museums of the city, recommended the Regional Museum, located on Liberty Avenue, 465; Aeolian Archaeological Museum (located in Lipari); The Norman- Byzantine Museum, located in Via Aluntina, 15; the Sicilian Museum of Religious Traditions; located in Via Colonel Musarra, 15.

A bit of history: The foundation of the city of Messina (from the Greek Zancle, "scythe" for the shape of its natural harbor) dates back to VIII century BC by Greek colonists from Chalcis. The strategic geographical position, favored by the harbor, made it ​​famous for its important trade in the Mediterranean. Messina will become Caput regni, and only seat of the Zecca Del Regno (until 1678). Roman rule in 241 BC emphasized the military and commercial power of Messina. In the fourth century. A.D. The city was subject to the Byzantine rule until 843, when it was conquered by the Saracens. In 1061, the Great Conte Roger de Hauteville, began the Christian reconquest of Sicily, arriving in Messina. In 1197 the Swabians, with Henry VI, and with the great Stupor mundi, Frederick II gave, respectively, a big boost to the city in economy and in the field of science and letters. However, the Swabian centralizing policy sparked riots often favoring the Angevin conquest of Sicily, in 1266, and the Aragonese in 1282, shortly after the War of the Vespers . Between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Messina crossed one of the greatest periods of flourishing trade with the East. This increased the autonomy of the city by the Spanish Viceroy from Palermo that demanded even more taxes. From here the riots antispagnole of 1647 and 1672, in which the local merchant classes asked for the intervention of the King of France, Louis XIV, who came in Eastern Sicily. But four years later, Messina was conquered by the Spanish. 1678 is the beginning of the decline of Messina. During the eighteenth century different dominations followed, from Savoy, Spaniards, Austrians and Bourbons. In the nineteenth century Messina was able to recover. In 1860 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. The twentieth century was the century of the most devastating in the history of the city, as in 1908; Messina was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake (another serious earthquake had occurred in 1783), resulting in 80,000 casualties. From that disgrace the city began to rise again in the last war.