Just three miles off the coast of southern Italy's mainland is the port town of Messina on the island of Sicily. This bustling town has a complex history with roots in Greek mythology but, because of an earthquake in the early 1900s, it's a relatively young city architecturally. Since the majority of the city has been rebuilt or refurbished within the last 100 years, you'll find the town has an interesting blend of new architecture and old styles. Messina can be visited on one of our many Europe cruisesFind Cruises Sailing to This Port
For a show unlike any you've seen before, visit the world's largest astronomical clock, Orologio Astronomico, in the Piazza del Duomo. It's set in a 60 m (197 ft) bell tower and when the clock strikes noon, it comes to life. As Ave Maria begins playing from a loudspeaker, the bronze mechanical figures start to move. A lion roars, a bird flaps its wings and two historical heroines take turns ringing the bell, all before it ends with a statue of Jesus appearing from a tomb.
|Take a walk through the Duomo, the town's main cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo. Although most of it has been refurbished in recent years, it has retained some of the original Norman-style features from 1160, when it was built by the Holy Roman emperor Henry VI.|
|Make a wish in the Fontana di Orione in the centre of the piazza. The pre-baroque style fountain was built to commemorate Messina's aqueduct and symbolises the four rivers, Tiber, Nile, Ebore and Camaro.|
|Spend some time in the Museo Regionale. Here you'll find an amazing collection of art rescued from the 1908 earthquake, including pieces dating back to the 13th century.|
For a taste of traditional Sicilian cuisine, look for aubergine caponata – a stew of tomatoes, aubergines, capers and olives – typically served in restaurants as an antipasto. Rice balls, or arancini di riso, are also very common and can be found in many restaurants and at pavement stalls. For dessert, try a slice of Sicilian cassata cake, a square sponge cake covered with ricotta cheese frosting, maraschino liqueur, candied fruit and nuts.
Italy's official currency is the euro (EUR). Many shops and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate. When shopping, remember that Value Added Tax is added to most purchases.
|Average Precip.||4.5 in||11.43 cm|
Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.