Messina (Missina in Sicilian; Μεσσήνη / Μεσσήνα in Greek) is an Italian town of 226 055 inhabitants, the capital of the homonymous metropolitan city in Sicily. It rises near the extreme northeastern tip of Sicily (Capo Peloro) on the strait that bears its name. Its port, a ferry port for the continent, is the first in Italy for the number of passengers in transit. Messina is an important and historic university, the local Studiorum Universitas was founded in 1548 by Sant'Ignazio di Loyola.

Founded by the Sicilians with the name of Zancle, which in their language meant sickle, it was repopulated by Greek colonists and was renamed Messana. It reached the apex of its greatness between the late Middle Ages and the mid-seventeenth century, when it competed with Palermo for the role of capital of the Kingdom of Sicily. Put to fire and sword in 1678 after a historic anti-Spanish revolt which resulted in the annihilation of its ruling class, it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1783. It was besieged during the Sicilian revolution of 1848 against Ferdinand II of Bourbon, suffering serious damage. In 1908 a disastrous earthquake destroyed the city almost entirely, causing the death of about half of the population. Rebuilt starting from 1912, often in Art Nouveau style, the modern city presents itself with an orderly and regular grid of wide and straight streets in a north-south direction.


How to orient yourself

The city develops along the coast with the central districts close to the arch of the port.



Messina is divided into 6 districts:
Norman (I) — including the districts Giampilieri Marina, Giampilieri Superiore, Molino, Altolia, Briga Marina, Briga Superiore, Pezzolo, Ponte Schiavo, Santa Margherita Marina, Santo Stefano di Briga, Santa Margherita, Santo Stefano Medio, Galati Marina, Galati Superiore , Galati Inferiore, Mili San Marco, Mili Marina, Mili San Pietro, Tipoldo, Larderia and Tremestieri;

Calispera (II) - including the Pistunina, Zafferìa, Santa Lucia sopra Contesse, CEP Village, UNRRA Village, Contesse, Minissale, San Filippo Inferiore and S. Filippo Superiore quarters;

Tre Santi (III) - including the districts of Taormina, Gazzi, Mangialupi, Aldisio, Ferrovieri, Cannamele, Cumìa Superiore, Cumìa Inferiore, Valle degli Angeli, Santo, Bordonaro, Calorendi, Santo Bordonaro, Palmara, Carrubbara, Monte Santo , Camaro Inferiore, Camaro, Bisconte and Cataratti;

Historic center (IV) - including the Gonzaga, Montepiselli, Gravitelli, Torre Vittoria, San Raineri and Galletta districts;

Antonello da Messina (V) - including the districts of Villaggio Svizzero, Giostra, Basile, Retreat, Scala Retiro, San Licandro, Regina Elena, San Michele, SS. Annunziata and Paradise;

Peloro (VI) - including the districts Contemplazione, Pace, S. Agata, Ganzirri, Torre Faro, Capo Peloro, Mortelle, Timpazzi, Casa Bianca, Sperone, Faro Superiore, Curcuraci, Massa San Giovanni, Massa Santa Lucia, Massa San Nicola, Massa San Giorgio, Acqualadrone, Spartà, Castanea delle Furie, Salice, San Saba, Rodia, Ortoliuzzo and Gesso.
Most of the attractions of tourist interest are included in districts III and IV.



Altolia, Bordonaro, Briga Marina, Briga Superiore, Castanea delle Furie, Catarratti, Cumia, Curcuraci, Faro Superiore, Ganzirri, Gesso, Giampilieri Marina, Giampilieri Superiore, Massa San Giorgio, Massa San Giovanni, Massa Santa Lucia, Massa San Nicola, Mili San Marco, Mili San Pietro, Molino, Orto Liuzzo, Pezzolo, Salice, Tipoldo, Tremestieri


Getting here

By plane
1 Catania Airport (Fontanarossa Airport), ☎ +39 0957239111. National and international flights and an important charter and low cost hub.
2 Reggio Calabria Airport (Airport of the Strait), via Provinciale Ravagnese, 11, 89131 Reggio Calabria, ☎ +390965640517, fax: +390965636524, Relations with Rome, Milan, Turin and Venice, through the companies Ita Airways, Blu Express and Volotea.
3 Palermo-Punta Raisi Airport (Falcone e Borsellino Airport), ☎ +39 0917020273. National and international flights, including low cost.

By car
Messina is connected to Catania via the A18 motorway and Palermo with the A20. Both highways have a toll. If you want to avoid the motorways, you can take the state roads, the SS114 towards Catania and the SS113 towards Palermo.

On boat
4 Port of Messina (historical port) (near the maritime station). Most travelers arrive from mainland Italy by ferry from Villa San Giovanni. These ferries sail round the clock, and as they are considered an extension of the road network to Sicily, fares are subsidised. There are also 30 minutes by boat from Reggio Calabria.
From this port the trains to the continent are embarked by Ferrovie dello Stato. They also operate:
Bluferries. Walking €2.50, car €37-€60. Company owned by the FS. Hydrofoils to Villa and Reggio.
Liberty Lines. On foot €3.50, return ticket on foot €6.50. The hydrofoil service is suspended.
5 Rada San Francesco (4 km north of the maritime railway. By tram stop Brasile/Imbarchi Caronte). A second port compared to the historical one (see below).
Charon & Tourist. Ferries to Villa San Giovanni, connections in 20 min.
6 Nuremberg Pier (Northeast of the historic port). From this pier the ferries of the Caronte depart for Salerno (9 hour journey).
7 Boarding Tremestieri. Commercial port for loading heavy vehicles for the continent. Operated by Meridiano Lines.

On the train
8 Messina Central Station, Piazza della Repubblica (Central Station tram stop). The main station of Messina. For luggage storage, contact the Sais bus office.
9 Messina Marittima Station. In this second station, located next to the central one, the trains that must be embarked on the ferries stop.

Messina is connected by train from the regional transport of Trenitalia with the cities of Catania, Syracuse and Palermo, while the railway connections with Calabria are guaranteed by increasingly rare special ferries.

By bus
10 Bus terminal, Piazza della Repubblica (Next to the central station). Intercity buses connect with Rome, Naples, Catania and Palermo (Sais Autolinee). Regional buses also connect with Taormina (with Interbus) and Milazzo (with Giuntabus) for the Aeolian Islands.
Coiro Viaggi connects the city with the main Italian and Swiss cities.
Coiro Autoservizi, Via Nazionale, Spadafora, ☎ +39 090 9943328, Company that connects the city with Aigle, Bellinzona, Bern, Bex, Bienne, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano, Martigny, Montreux, Neuchâtel, Rolle, Vevey and Yverdon.
Flixbus. Company that connects the city to Canicattì, Caltanissetta, Villa San Giovanni, Palmi, Gioia Tauro, Rosarno, Vibo Valentia, Lamezia Terme, Pian del Lago, Cosenza, Pietrapaola, Cariati, Mandatoriccio, Calopezzati, Mirto Crosia, Corigliano-Rossano, Schiavonea, Bivio Cantinella, Tarsia, Spezzano Albanese, Sibari, Taranto, Bari, Andria, Barletta, Foggia, San Severo, Termoli, San Salvo, Pescara, L'Aquila, Val Vomano, Teramo, Giulianuova, Sala Consilina, Salerno, Naples, Rome, Porto d'Ascoli, Civitanova Marche, Ancona, Pesaro, Urbino, Siena, Florence, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Turin and Milan.


Get around

By public transport
The Messina Transportation Company (ATM) connects the various areas of the city via city buses and a tram line. Tickets: single rate €1.20; single on board € 1.50; 90 minutes €1.25; 2-journey pass €1.70; day pass € 2.60.

The few places of interest in Messina are close to the main port and can be easily reached on foot. You'll likely want to use the bus or tram to get between central Messina and the northern ferry terminal 4km up the coast - these run every 10-15 minutes. Bus 79 does this (every 30 minutes) and continues north to Ganzirri and the Istituto Marino on the northeastern tip of the island. Many buses and the railway run south.

Tramway of Messina. The tram line runs along the coast.

By taxi
Radio Taxi Jolli, ☎ +39 090 6505. Cooperative that allows you to book a taxi by telephone from 4:00 to 1:00, both in the city and outside the city.



Over the centuries, various destructive events, both by human and natural causes, have devastated the city, which today has a modern appearance, the result above all of the latest reconstructions after the 1908 earthquake and the bombings from 1940 to 1943. Many of the works of art and buildings built over the centuries have been lost, but the city still preserves monumental examples of absolute importance.


Religious architecture

Basilica Cathedral Protometropolitana, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, Norman, built at the end of the 12th century and with numerous other renovations. It holds numerous works of art. Its foundation dates back to before the Arab invasion, it was profaned by the Muslims and rededicated in 1192 in the presence of Archbishop Berzio, Emperor Henry VI and his wife Costanza d'Altavilla. The splendid wooden roof, with rare astronomical representations, was destroyed in 1254 by a fire that broke out during the funeral of Corrado IV of Swabia, son of Frederick II of Swabia. From 1300 there were some substantial changes, which if on the one hand enriched the cathedral with the mosaics of the apses, the portal and the facade, on the other they distorted the original Norman appearance. The façade was damaged by the earthquakes of 1638 and 1783, but it was almost entirely destroyed by the earthquake of 1908, which left only the apse part standing, however bringing to light many elements of the Norman construction. The reconstruction of the twenties restored the original appearance and recovered part of the works of art and mosaics. Another severe blow to the millennial structure was inflicted by the bombings of the Second World War which destroyed part of the interior. The current building, which was intended to be as close as possible to the original, retains valuable parts on the outside. On the façade the Gothic-style portal and the bas-reliefs, on the right side, the fifteenth-century windows and a portal attributed to Polidoro da Caravaggio. Inside the cathedral of Messina, tripartite by a double row of 13 columns, you can admire the mosaics, some funerary monuments, including that of Guidotto de Tabiatis, archbishop of Messina in the fourteenth century, and some statues of saints, the valuable San Giovanni Battista by Antonello Gagini from 1525. Furthermore, the organ inside is more than noteworthy: the second largest in Italy (the first is that of the Milan Cathedral), and the third in Europe, with 5 keyboards , 170 registers, 16,000 pipes distributed on both sides of the transept, behind the altar, on the main door and on the triumphal arch. It is the work of the Tamburini company of Crema in 1948. The bell tower, 90 meters high and with a base of about 10 meters, has the largest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world on the outside, made by a company from Strasbourg, Ungerer brothers: inaugurated in 1933, every day at noon the various statues move in spectacular fashion to the sound of Schubert's Ave Maria. The figures on the bell tower recall the War of the Vespers of 1282: the Lion at the top represents the Sicilian people victorious over Charles of Anjou and the Guelph army sent by the pope against Sicily; Dina and Clarenza represent the women of Messina who helped the men defend the city; the cockerel between the two female statues represents the Franco-Papal army; the disappearing church recalls Colle della Caperrina, site of the battle of 6 and 8 August 1282, the last attempt by Charles of Anjou to enter the city from the hills to the west. The crypt is still closed to the public. It was opened during the days of the FAI, but still needs the restoration of the Norman flooring and lighting, which the Superintendence is working on, in search of funding.
Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani, the first name of this church was that of S. Maria di Castellamare and some historians argue that the church was founded in the 12th century on the ruins of an ancient temple of Neptune. A collapse occurred in the thirteenth century set back the facade of 12 meters. In the Aragonese age it was a royal chapel and at the end of the fifteenth century it was given to courtiers and wealthy Catalan merchants by Pietro d'Aragona, hence the name of Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani. Given the progressive uplift of the city due to earthquakes and reconstructions, the church is now more than three meters below street level. The plan of the church is a Byzantine-type basilica divided into three naves with a high dome. The exterior is framed by two orders of columns with elegant capitals and arches inlaid in two colours. On the sides of the nave two walkways lead above the transept passing through elegant mullioned windows. Inside, Arab-Byzantine influences are visible. It is located in via Cesare Battisti, in front of piazza Lepanto.
Co-cathedral church of the Santissimo Salvatore, seat of the Archimandritate, in via San Giovanni Bosco.
Basilica Sanctuary of Sant'Antonio di Padova, houses the remains of Sant'Annibale Maria Di Francia. It is located in via Cesare Battisti, at the crossroads with via Santa Cecilia.
Shrine of Christ the King, has the "Bell of Christ the King" placed on top of the octagonal tower (12th century) of the sanctuary. It was cast in Padua (Colbachini foundry) and inaugurated on 21 August 1935. It has a diameter of 2.66 m, weighs over 13 tons and is the third largest bell in Italy. It rang until some time ago at noon, and then let its chimes be heard at sunset (the time varies according to the time of year) in memory of the fallen Messina people of the first and second world wars whose remains are kept in the shrine ; due to some faults in the electromechanical system it does not chime. It is located on Viale Principe Umberto.
Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto, rebuilt after the earthquake. This Sanctuary is linked to the Messina tradition; its borders were traced by the flight of a white dove immediately after the Spaniards were expelled from Messina. It is located in via Dina e Clarenza.
Sanctuary of the Madonna of Lourdes, construction began in 1884, located in Viale Regina Margherita 39
Church of Sant'Elia, from the 16th century, with a single nave. It is located in the homonymous street near the church of Santa Maria Alemanna. It has valuable internal stuccos.
Church of San Francesco all'Immacolata, from the 13th century, the second largest church in the city, in viale Boccetta.
Church of San Giovanni di Malta, by Giacomo Del Duca, a pupil of Michelangelo. It is located in the street of the same name.
Church of the Madonna delle Grazie in Grotte, built in the 17th century to a design by Simone Gullì. Destroyed by the earthquake, it was rebuilt and restructured bringing it back to its original colour.
Church of Santa Maria della Valle, known as "Badiazza", church-fortress from the Norman era, in the upper valley of the hamlet of Ritiro.
Church of San Tommaso Apostolo il Vecchio, a rare example of pre-Norman architecture, in via Romagnosi.
Church of Santa Maria del Carmine designed by the architect Cesare Bazzani (1873 - 1939), after the earthquake of 28 December 1908 had destroyed the city, it was inaugurated on 15 July 1931. In an eclectic and neoclassical style, and in the shape of a Greek cross, the Church has an octagonal central room and is covered by a dome, frescoed by the Messina painter Adolfo Romano (1894 -1972). The Church, raised to the dignity of Sanctuary in 1956, contains seven chapels with related altars, including the one dedicated to Sant'Alberto degli Abbati, co-patron of Messina. In the main altar there is an eighteenth-century statue depicting the Madonna del Carmelo in the act of handing the Holy Little Dress to San Simone Stock.
Church of Santa Maria Alemanna, believed to have been founded by the Teutonic Knights, an order wanted in Messina by Frederick II of Swabia, dates back to the 13th century. It is an example of Sicilian Gothic architecture. A local chronicle informs us that already in 1606 the church lay in a state of abandonment and that in 1612 it was almost destroyed by lightning which struck it during a violent storm. The earthquake of 1783 continued its disintegration. Used for years as a warehouse, it was spared from the terrible earthquake of 1908 which left it almost unscathed. Its restoration has recently been completed. To be admired are the elegant pointed arches and the capitals carved with floral motifs and monstrous figures. The original portals are in the city museum located in via Sant'Elia.
Sanctuary of Santa Maria Consolata is located in Via don Luigi Orione 1.
Shrine of Santa Maria di Pompei is located in Viale Regina Margherita.

Other churches were destroyed by the 1908 earthquake:
Synagogue of Messina, built between the 12th and 13th centuries and transformed into the Church of San Filippo Neri, then destroyed by the 1908 earthquake.
Church of the Santissima Annunziata, designed by Guarino Guarini, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Church of Santa Maria della Scala, from 1723, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Church of San Gregorio, from the 16th century. The bell tower with its characteristic helical shape was built in 1717 to a design by Juvarra. Still in 1743 Pietro Passalacqua adorned the facade of the church on designs by Filippo Juvarra. It was destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Church of the Souls in Purgatory, by Raffaello Margarita from 1750, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Church of Santa Teresa, work of Matteo de Maria of 1810, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Church of San Paolo, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.


Civil architectures

Palazzo Zanca
seat of the town hall, in piazza Unione Europea, it was once placed in the center of the Palazzata which acted as a continuum of 17th century buildings which framed the crescent-shaped port. The building suffered serious damage from the earthquake of 1783, and destroyed by the earthquake of 1908, it was moved back to its present position. The reconstruction works began in December 1914 under the direction of the Palermo architect Antonio Zanca and ended in 1924. The building is in neoclassical style and covers an area of about 12,000 m². On the façade you can see some sculptures linked to the city's symbology and numerous tombstones that recall the most important events. On the façade of via San Camillo there are two bas-reliefs depicting Dina and Clarenza, while on the opposite side, in via Consolato del Mare, there is a porticoed entrance with the Senatorial fountain in front of it from 1619. The rear side overlooks Corso Cavour and piazza Antonello with a portico decorated with bas-reliefs made by local craftsmen.

Vittorio Emanuele III Gallery
one of the few examples of architecture with the use of iron in Southern Italy, the only one with Naples, Galleria Umberto I. Built in 1929 by Camillo Puglisi Allegra to complete piazza Antonello. The portico overlooking the square is characterized by a large arch which marks the access to the Gallery, richly decorated inside with beautiful stuccos and a black and white mosaic floor. Two flights of stairs on one side and a porch on the other lead to secondary exits.

Vittorio Emanuele II Theater
its construction was ordered on October 2, 1838 by Ferdinand II of Bourbon and began only on April 23, 1842. It was designed by the architect Pietro Valente and inaugurated on January 12, 1852, it was named after Sant'Elisabetta, in honor of the sovereign's mother . On 13 September 1860 with the unification of Italy it assumed its current name. The facade of the theater has a portico which allowed the passage of the carriages accompanying the spectators. On the entrance loggia is a group of sculptures from 1847 created by Saro Zagari, depicting Time discovering the truth. The Syracusan stone exterior is in neoclassical style, and is rich in decorations, sculptures and bas-reliefs by Zagari representing scenes from the life of Hercules and portraits of sixteen famous playwrights and musicians. On the evening of December 27, 1908, Giuseppe Verdi's Aida was performed, and a few hours later the earthquake destroyed the city, sparing the perimeter of the building and the decorative parts. In 1982 began a restoration finished in December 1985, the inauguration took place on April 25 of the same year with a concert directed by maestro Giuseppe Sinopoli. The internal decoration of the ceiling bears the name of Renato Guttuso, the myth of Colapesce. It is located in via Garibaldi.

Piacenza Palace
the work of the architect Marcello Piacentini, located in Piazza Maurolico opposite that of the University, it was built in 1927 on the area of the old Great Hospital. It consists of three buildings connected by galleries that connect the three large ground-floor reception rooms. The architecture is strongly characterized by the use of Sicilian materials. The stone, of a warm yellow-ochre colour, is the same that had been used in ancient times for the temples of Selinunte and Agrigento, while some ornamental parts are in Cinisi marble. The choice of these island stones, especially those of the facade, was made to accentuate the Greek aspect of the whole in memory of the Greek temples in Sicily. The façade, raised by large stairs, is characterized by large and fluted Doric half-columns which frame the walls, where large rectangular windows open, and support an entablature. The windows are surmounted by rosettes and bas-relief medallions. The facades, main and lateral, the interior are adorned with works by various artists, all in tune with the style to which the building is marked, which reflects the orientation of the official deed of the first twenty years of the century. The large tondos of the attic, representing The Right and The Law are by the sculptor Giovanni Prini, the four Roman eagles are by Cloza and Bonfiglio; also by Cloza and Ricciardi are the medallions depicting some Messina jurists (Dicearco of Messina, Guido Delle Colonne, Giacomo Macrì, Antonio Fulci, Francesco Faranda and Andrea Di Bartolomeo); the heads of Minerva on the side doors are by Monescalchi. Lastly, the great quadriga driven by the goddess Minerva dominates the grandiose attic, made by Ercole Drei in bronze and aluminum alloy, probably inspired by the nineteenth-century architectural tradition of Northern Europe. In the vestibule, at the bottom of which rises the grand staircase, in marble with bronze inserts, opens the marble portal which gives access to the Court of Assizes. In the audience halls there are allegorical bas-reliefs and in the other representative rooms, in the library, the council chamber, the cabinets of the presidents and the judges, the ceilings are decorated with fat tempera.

Monte di Pietà Palace
built in 1581 by the architect Natale Masuccio following a papal bull from Leo X which encouraged the construction of charities, in 1741, the staircase leading to the church was built on plans and drawings by the architect Antonio Basile and the painter Placido Campolo of Santa Maria della Pietà, once adorned with precious paintings and today almost completely destroyed, while part of the crypt is currently inaccessible and in a state of total abandonment. A marble fountain with the statue of Abundance by Ignazio Buceti was inserted halfway up the steps. The building, with an eighteenth-century façade, overlooks via XXIV Maggio. From the valuable entrance portal you arrive in an atrium with a barrel vault. On the right is the door that led to the upper floors, opposite, a monumental fountain from 1732, depicting a putto riding a dolphin. The building was renovated in 1979 and is owned by the Arciconfraternita degli Azzurri and is often used to host cultural events.
Palazzetto Coppedè, the work of the Florentine architect Gino Coppedè, in via Garibaldi from the rounded corner at the crossroads with via Cardines.
Palazzo Magaudda, also the work of Coppedè, at the crossroads between via Cesare Battisti and via Garibaldi.
Palazzo Calapaj - d'Alcontres, in via S. Giacomo, eighteenth-century building.
Palazzo Cerruti - Bisazza, in via Lepanto, at the crossroads with via Cesare Battisti and recognizable by the unmistakable Maghen David or "star of David" inserted in the railings of the balconies.
Palazzo Trevi - Palazzo del Gallo, on the corner with via Centonze and via Saffi, built by Gino Coppedè in 1913.
Archbishop's Palace, in via San Filippo Bianchi, 10, was destroyed and rebuilt several times, the last time in 1924.
Palazzo della Cassa di Risparmio, the work of the Sicilian architect Cesare Bazzani, in 1926, between via Garibaldi and piazza Fulci.

University building
destroyed and razed to the ground by the earthquake of 1908, it was rebuilt in 1920 and occupies an area of approximately 20,000 m². The university building complex was designed by the architect Giuseppe Botto. After the last war, in relation to the expansion plan of the universities, the university administration ordered the elevation of some pavilions and the construction, based on a project by Eng. prof. Francesco Basile, of a modern building facing via dei Verdi. The elevations of the three buildings overlooking Piazza Salvatore Pugliatti reveal neoclassical characters with floral decorations. Next to the pavilions which - below street level - overlook via Giacomo Venezian is the beautiful portal of the ancient Jesuit college, the first university in Messina and the first of the Sicilian religious organizations of the followers of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Palace of Posts and Telegraphs
designed by Vittorio Mariani in 1915, with a clear Art Nouveau matrix, it has rich floral decorations inside, symbols of the city, even contemporary ones such as the ferry boats, and a stucco frieze depicting angels postmen and telephone operators, it stands in Piazza Antonello. Today it is one of the decentralized branches of the University.

governament Palace
built in 1920 on a project by the architect Cesare Bazzani. It almost entirely occupied the area of the sixteenth-century church of S. Giovanni dei Cavalieri di Malta, of which only the magnificent Tribuna remains. It has a post-floral taste with evident inserts of Renaissance elements and is enhanced by a measured plasticism.

Chamber of Commerce building
built after the 1908 earthquake on a project by the Messina architect Camillo Puglisi Allegra. This building is spread over three floors with a classical layout, with a play of advanced bodies on the facade punctuated by pilasters which rise, on another ashlar base, to support a modulated entablature. The third floor, built above it, altered the layout which, despite the verticality of the large windows, was markedly horizontal.

Palazzo della Provincia, or "Palace of the Lions"
built in 1915, it stands in the same place it occupied before 1908, previously the area of the ancient church of San Nicolò dei Gentiluomini. Work started in 1915 and continued during the First World War, and, albeit with imaginable difficulties, was directed by the architect Alessandro Giunta. The building was inaugurated in 1918, with a ceremony in keeping with Italy's grave moment after Caporetto, namely with the intervention of the Milanese hero Luigi Rizzo, a veteran of the "buccari hoax" and the sinking of the battleship "Szent Istvàn ". The building has two façades: on that of Corso Cavour opens the entrance hall preceded by a portico, on piazza Antonello the façade - also with an arcade on the ground floor - follows the shape of the square it overlooks with its concavity. The interiors are decorated by the caryatids and glossy stuccos of the council chamber by D'Arrigo and Loverti and by the panels painted by Corsini above the large windows by Di Stefano and Bonsignore.

Palace of culture or Palacultura, inaugurated in June 2009, in viale Boccetta. Among other things, it houses the Contemporary Art Gallery inaugurated on the evening of 25 February 2012 on the occasion of the Night of Culture 2012 edition.
Inside there is a large auditorium where the best interpreters of classical music often perform, in fact cycles of concerts by both the Philharmonic and the Laudamo Association are organised.

Messina Central Station & Messina Marittima Station
built in 1939 by the architect Angiolo Mazzoni, after the previous one was demolished by order of Benito Mussolini, demolition in which the Duce himself participated by picking the old station. It was inaugurated on October 28, 1939. In a rationalist style, built using travertine, lava stone, stone from Syracuse and red stone from Taormina. The stations are divided into two bodies, the "Marittima" and "Centrale" stations: the station has a large loggia that leads into an olle, it has a large underpass that leads to the 8 platforms plus 2 other commercial ones. After the central station are the offices of the State Railways, after the offices is the large Maritime Station. This has an arched shape: on the ground floor there are the bar, the ticket office and the tobacconist's, and by escalators and brick stairs you can go up to the panoramic lounge overlooking the port; on the opposite wall there is a large mosaic by Michele Cascella, restored, which represents Mussolini's speech in Palermo. The pedestrian gates for the 5 sockets open from the hall. From some ramps it is possible to climb above the ship with cars. Another characterizing structure is the water tower with the spiral staircase around the structure. The station also has the task of interchange with: the Messina tram, bus and coach station between Sicily and the continent. Outside the station there is Piazza Repubblica where there is a fountain from 1905, positioned there after Mussolini's arrival in the city.

Many palaces were destroyed by the earthquakes of 1783, 1908 and by the bombings of 1943:
Royal Palace, Renaissance building, work of Andrea Calamech of 1589 and destroyed by the earthquake of 1783.
Palace of the Chamber of Commerce, the work of Giacomo Fiore, Giuseppe Managò and Giuseppe La Bruto, destroyed in the earthquake of 1908.
Casa dei Padri Minoriti, the work of the architect Giacomo Minutoli, opposite the Cathedral, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzo Pistorio-Cassibile, designed by the architect Giacomo Minutoli, in Piazza Duomo, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Hotel Trinacria, built to a design by Placido Campolo, Bitto and Asciak, destroyed in the 1908 earthquake.
Loggia de' Negotianti, Renaissance building, from 1627, destroyed by the earthquake of 1783.
Convent of S. Francesco d'Assisi, work of the architect Giacomo Minutoli, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Town Hall, the work of the architect Giacomo Minutoli, damaged only in part in the 1908 earthquake, was razed to the ground with dynamite charges shortly afterwards.
Palazzo dei Tribunali, the work of the architect Antonio Basile, built to a design by Domenico Martinelli, destroyed in the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzata di Simone Gullì, work of the architect Simone Gullì, destroyed in the earthquake of 1783.
Palazzo Molo, a building from the current rococo period in the early 1800s, by Antonio Brancati from 1810, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzo Fiorentino, building of the current rococo period in the early 1800s, by Filippo Juvarra, destroyed by bombing in 1943.
Palazzo Brunaccini, building of the current Rococo period in the early 1800s, by Gaetano di Maria of 1810, in the districts of the parish church of S. Antonio, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzo dell'Appalto, eighteenth-century building, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzo dell'Appalto, eighteenth-century building, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzo Avarna, an eighteenth-century building by Saverio Francesco Basile from 1790, which was built in Piazza dei Catalani and was destroyed in the 1908 earthquake.
Palazzo Arena, eighteenth-century building, the work of Gianfrancesco Arena from 1790, which was built in Piazza del Duomo destroyed in the earthquake of 1908.
Porta della Loggia, Renaissance building, by Giacomo Del Duca from 1589 with the fountain of Neptune opposite, destroyed by the earthquake of 1783.
Palazzo Grano, Renaissance building, the work of Andrea Calamech from 1563, destroyed by the earthquake of 1908. The prototype of the Baroque palaces which will please Catania.

In front of the Port of Messina, since 1589, a large building has been built, visible upon arrival in the city from the sea. It was destroyed by the 1783 earthquake, rebuilt and destroyed by the 1908 earthquake, rebuilt and only partially present today:
Senatorial Palace, Renaissance building, work of Giacomo Del Duca of 1589, destroyed by the earthquake of 1783.
Palace of Giacomo Minutoli, work of the architect Giacomo Minutoli, built in 1803 and destroyed in the earthquake of 1908.
Palazzata di Giuseppe Samonà, the work of the architect Giuseppe Samonà, was only partially built.

Of the Palazzata di Samonà there are today:
Palazzo dell'INA (National Insurance Institute) built on a project by the engineer Guido Viola in 1935 between the Palazzo della Dogana and the Banco di Sicilia with the monumental door.
INAIL building, designed by Giuseppe Samonà from 1938 in rationalist style.
ex Palazzo Littorio, by Giuseppe Samonà 1940 also in rationalist style.
Customs Palace
work of Giuseppe Lo Cascio after the earthquake of 1908, in Art Nouveau style, with magnificent decorations, cast iron canopies, floral style gates. Located on the site where, until 1783, the great Palazzo Reale stood, seat first of the kings and then of the viceroys of Sicily, on a par with the royal palace of Palermo.
Palace of the Bank of Sicily
built in 1929 with anti-seismic standards based on a project by Camillo Autore, it is linked to a marked Renaissance structure as is evident in the pilasters that delimit the entrance portal flanked by Tuscan columns and dominated by a balcony. Inside the building, the "Sala degli sportelli" is suggestive, where you can admire the floral style.


Other monuments

Monument to Giuseppe Natoli
The patriot monument was created by the Messina sculptor Lio Gangeri, erected by popular will in 1868 and completed in 1880. The artist created some sketches of the work which were unanimously approved by the Messina City Council, the statue over three meters high , was then placed, with a solemn ceremony.
Lazzaretto of Messina
War Memorial
It is located in Piazza Unione Europea (Town Hall), built in 1936, with a sober and essential but severe style. On the podium, in front of a stele, the imposing bronze group depicting an airman, a sailor and an infantryman.
Monument to the Sicilian battery Masotto
Remember the Masotto battery, which fell in Adua in the Eritrean countryside; the bronze group, depicting three soldiers in epic attitudes, was modeled by Salvatore Buemi in 1897.
Bring Grace
Monumental gateway to the Citadel (17th century), work of Domenico Biondo and sons. In 1961 it was relocated to the central square "Casa Pia".
Statue of Messina grateful for the concession of the free port
It depicts the city grateful to Giuseppe Natoli who, on 31 March 1848, gave Messina back the free port rights suppressed sixty years earlier by the Bourbons (from the history of Messina on the Gran Mirci portal). It is the work of 1859 by the Messina sculptor Giuseppe Prinzi and was located, before 1908, inside the Town Hall. Today it is located in the center of the "Giacomo Minutoli" square, facing the port with the imposing bulk of the Town Hall in the background.
Statue of the Immaculate Conception
White marble sculpture by Ignazio Buceti from Messina (1758), placed on a high base in the "Immacolata di Marmo" square, next to the Cathedral.
Monument to Don Giovanni of Austria, erected on the occasion of the battle of Lepanto and created by Andrea Calamech.

Statue of Ferdinand II of Bourbon
bronze monument commissioned by the Messina Decurionate to the famous sculptor Pietro Tenerani, a pupil of Bertel Thorvaldsen. It was sculpted in Munich in 1839. The new king had been favorably received by the population who had high hopes for his work. The artist made some sketches of the work (the statue was over three meters high) which would then be placed, with a solemn ceremony, in Piazza del Duomo on 30 May 1845. The statue was melted down to make mortars during the Siege of Messina of 1848, in which the king gave the order to the army to bombard the city, and in fact, precisely for this reason he was nicknamed by the people of Messina the Bomba King. The Messina Decurionate decided on November 20, 1852 to redo the statues of the Bourbon kings, on the orders of Ferdinand II himself, which were destroyed. Tenerani supplied a copy similar to the previous one, the king was depicted in the ceremonial dress of Grand Master of the Order of San Gennaro. The statue was rebuilt again in Monaco, in 1856, and moved to Messina in November 1857. After the 1908 earthquake, the statue was placed in the National Museum. In 1973 it was returned to the Municipality of Messina which placed it in Villa Garibaldi, located on the homonymous street.

Statue of Charles III of Bourbon
the Statue of Charles III of 1757, a bronze work by Giuseppe Buceti from Messina, was built on a model by Jean Jacques Caffièri on a base by Vanvitelli. The statue was sculpted in Rome by Saro Zagari from Messina, a pupil of Tenerani; it was the last to be completed and was placed in the early 1860s in the San Leone district. That same year, with the entry into the city of the Garibaldini, the statues of Francesco I and Ferdinando I were again destroyed. The other two statues, however, that of Ferdinando II and that of Charles III were saved by order of General Medici and arranged in the Peloritano Civic Museum at the time and later in the Mellinghof spinning mill transformed into the National Museum. In 1973 the Statue of Charles III of Bourbon was returned to the city and placed on its original base in Piazza Cavallotti, on Via Primo Settembre, opposite the Chamber of Commerce. The pedestal is cylindrical in shape and has a very pleasant decoration with festoons in the neoclassical style.

Statue of Queen Elena
in Via Cesare Battisti, Largo Seggiola, stands the monument to Queen Elena of Montenegro, inaugurated on 26 June 1960 in memory of her demanding charitable work carried out in January 1909 in favor of the earthquake-stricken city. It was sculpted in Florence by Antonio Berti and built with funds raised by the newspaper La Settimana Incom illustrata, it stands on a marble pedestal where on the four sides of the base, bronze bas-reliefs attest to the humble work and the generous efforts of the queen with the people of Messina hard hit by the earthquake. The statue depicts the "Queen of Charity" standing, serene but still; in the bronze of the plates, however, the sovereign is depicted in four moments: in a temporary hospital set up on the nave regia, while she supports the head of a wounded man with a nun, a Red Cross nurse and a medical officer beside her; in the act of caressing some wounded children who approach her; while she holds in her arms a child who has just been extracted from the rubble and in the midst of numerous victims.

Statue to Saint Hannibal Mary of France
it stands in the square of the same name, at the crossroads with Via Santa Cecilia and Via Cesare Battisti. It consists of a bronze statue on a marble base, the work of the Messina sculptor Mario Lucerna and placed in 1968. The work depicts the Holy Hannibal Mary of France, founder in 1882 of the Daughters of Divine Zeal, of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus in 1886, and of many Antonian Orphanages. Father Annibale wanted his work in Messina in the Avignone district, the poorest and most infamous of the city and a strong sense of devotion towards him has remained alive in Messina.

Statue of Gaetano Martino
located in Via Garibaldi, adjacent to the European Union square, in a small square named after the same Gaetano Martino. Inaugurated on 24 November 2000, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, in the presence of the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the widow of the great statesman and his children. It was built in Rome by the sculptor Rocchi.

Monument to Pope John Paul II
it is located in Via XXIV Maggio near the Monte di Pietà. Inaugurated on 11 June 1988, in memory of Pope John Paul II's arrival in Messina, the bronze monument, the work of the sculptor Sgaravatti of Padua, represents the Pontiff who, facing a stele, prays with open arms to Sant'Eustochia Calafato. The stele depicts salient episodes from the life of the Santa from Messina.

Casa del Puparo or Casa Cammarata
is a house-monument located in the Maregrosso district of Messina. This is the home of Cavalier Giovanni Cammarata, a retired bricklayer who in the early seventies began to embellish it with imaginative sculptures and decorations. It rises in what he himself will rename Via delle Belle Arti n. 20, in the industrial suburb of Messina. It is one of the greatest examples of contemporary Sicilian outsider art.
The Messina lighthouse, located in the Cittadella Della Madonna and dating back to 1555, is the oldest intact lighthouse in Italy.

The pylon of Torre Faro needs work to be given to public use.


Monumental fountains

Orion Fountain
located in Piazza Duomo, it was built in 1553 by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, a pupil of Michelangelo. The Opera, with a complex Neoplatonic-alchemical iconography, was defined by the art historian Bernard Berenson as "the most beautiful fountain of the sixteenth century in Europe".
Fountain of Neptune
Second Messina work by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli (1557), it is located in piazza Unità d'Italia.

Senatorial Fountain
It is located on the south side of the Town Hall; it consists of a large circular basin with a stele in the center which supports a large buccellata cup from 1619 in turn surmounted by a pine cone, the large basin is supported by three steps and has seven relief plaques on the external edge, the names of the Senators of the time, Don Franciscus Marullo, Bernadus Moleti, Thomas Zuccarato, Marcellus Cirino, Vincentius De Celis and Franciscus De Judice. Its original location is unknown, but until 1935 it was located in Piazza Palazzo Reale (next to the Customs), in 1937 it was placed in Via Consolato del Mare next to the town hall due to the arrival of Benito Mussolini in Messina.

Falconer Fountain
It was erected in piazza Ottagona (today piazza Filippo Juvara) in 1842 for the secular celebrations in honor of the Madonna della Lettera by the Messina architect Carlo Falconieri. Today it is located in the center of Piazza Basicò.

The Four Fountains
Carried out on designs by the Roman Pietro Calcagni, placed at the four corners between via Austria (today via I Settembre) and via Cardines, new arteries wanted by the Senate of Messina in 1572 to join the cathedral to the Royal Palace, they were carried out in different eras. The first, in 1666, by Innocenzo Mangani, the second, in 1714, by Ignazio Buceti, the last two by unknown artists in 1742. The decoration is inspired by the sea; the Spanish and Messina imperial coats of arms surmount each fountain. Destroyed by the 1908 earthquake, only two have been reassembled on the original site; the two missing ones are kept in the Regional Museum.

Bios fountain
to the Seaside Walk, created by the Messina painter and sculptor Ranieri Wanderlingh. Inaugurated in 2005, it was donated to the city by the Gazzetta del Sud newspaper. A rare example of modern art in Messina, the work is inspired by the original and archetypal forms of living nature. It symbolizes the masculine and feminine and the cycle of life and vital energy represented by water. The subtitle of the work is: "the life that always begins again". The location on the waterfront was desired by the author in order to mark the important boundary between urban space and natural space that characterizes the city of Messina.

Fountain of the 4 horses
in Largo San Giacomo, behind Piazza Duomo. According to the historian Caio Domenico Gallo it was erected in 1742 on the occasion of the feast of the Madonna della Lettera, sculpted by Giovan Battista Marino from Catania.

Brugnani Fountain
inside the trade fair, sculpted in 1738 by Ignazio Brugnani from Messina. Until 1908 it was located in the courtyard of the monastery of S. Gregorio Magno, under Montalto. The serious damages suffered were restored in 1980.

Cast iron fountain
the work of Messina craftsmen from the end of the 19th century.

Pine cone fountain
in Piazza Seguenza, it is of eighteenth-century style, surmounted by a large pine cone from which it takes its name. It is thought to come from a courtyard of the archiepiscopal seminary.

Fountain in the Republic Square
it is from the period immediately following the Second World War and takes advantage of the remains of a fountain from 1902, which was later destroyed, created by Leandro Caselli on the occasion of the construction of the city aqueduct.

Gennaro Fountain
at the crossroads between Corso Cavour and via T. Cannizzaro, it would be the work of 1590 by Rinaldo Bonanno; this work was built thanks to the will of the senators of that time who were: Paolo Adornetto, Antonio Cesare Aquilone, Pietro Arena, Pietro Del Pozzo, Giuseppe Stagno D'Alcontres, Carolus Ventimiglia. Their names and the date of construction were engraved on a plaque, destroyed by the earthquake, which was placed on the front of the nearby Palazzo Brunaccini. The fountain of the Aquarium, popularly understood by Gennaro (it is called Gennaro because it seems that it is the name of the Messina family who financed the work, or also called Innaru or Gennaro, a name deriving from Jannò or Giano, a pagan deity to whom they dedicated themselves, in Roman times, the gates of the city.), was placed in 1602 at the crossroads between the Corso and via del Collegio: it was next to the head of an irregular building and turned towards the South and the beginning of the Corso. Caio Domenico Gallo in the "Annals of the city of Messina" writes about it that "[…] at the beginning of the new year 1602 the beautiful marble font was erected in the square of the parish church of S. Antonio called Jannò with the remarkable statue of the Aquarius sitting on the Zodiac [...]". For several years it was housed in the Museum of Messina and in 1931 it was placed in the new open space at the beginning of the Corso, however retaining a position not very different from the original. Of simple and classic workmanship, the source rises on a low base and consists of an octagonal basin in pink marble, from which rises a pedestal that holds the statue of a young water carrier (Aquarius) seated on a globe decorated with a band with the signs of the zodiac. The zodiac sign is therefore depicted in the form of a naked young man with athletic features holding two amphorae; until 1870, the water flowed from four masks placed at the base of the globe and from the two jugs supported by Aquarius. The white marble statue appears not entirely finished, due to the erosion of time and the damages reported by the earthquake still legible in the restored parts, but, despite everything, the modeling is robust and vibrant and the figure denotes synchrony of movement . By some attributed to Rinaldo Bonanno, it was probably the work of a pupil of his, since that artist died in 1590.

Arena fountain
in the wide "Fontana Arena", there is a graceful bronze cherub modeled by the Messina sculptor Antonino Bonfiglio. This fountain decorates a small triangular-shaped green corner located between via Boccetta and via G. Longo. The locals call it "Fontana Arena", from the name of the Arena family who, in the last century, in a period of enormous drought, gave the people the possibility of using the waters. The Municipality, to commemorate the event, commissioned the work of a cherub orciaiolo in artificial stone which, subsequently, at the expense of the citizens of the neighborhood, was a model for a bronze casting, the stone original was then lost, pouring water from a pot-bellied vase in the shape of an amphora, representing one of the "minor" and less important works of Bonfiglio, but it can be considered, in spite of this, among the very large group of sculptures he performed, the most joyful and genuine work, pervaded by simplicity, cheerfulness and light-heartedness, typical of the happy world of childhood.

Fountain of Arione at the Casino di Terra Nuova (16th century) consisting of the statue of Arione on two dolphins inserted in a niche with a round arch, with shell and molded frame and an aedicule with leaning half columns of the Tuscan order; all surmounted by garlands and a quartered coat of arms. Taken over in the hamlet of Giampilieri marina by the French architect Jaques Ignace Hittorff in 1823 and published in engraving in the Architecture Moderne de la Sicile, Paris 1835, at Planche XXXIII, it was later forgotten. Rediscovered by the Messina architects F. Galletta and F. Sondrio in 2014, it was published in 2017, with the attribution by the same discoverers to the Messina sculptor Rinaldo Bonanno. See: M. Kiene, M. D'Angelo, M. Lo Curzio, 1823 Hittorff in Messina. The discovery of a new city, EDAS La Volta, Series of Architecture Studies and Projects, Messina 2017, pp. 192-214. ISBN 978-88-7820-473-7. In particular: F. Galletta, Chronicle of a discovery/Post Scriptum, pp. 192-198; F. Galletta, A place of delights, pp. 199-206; F. Sondrio, A story that continues, pp. 207–214.

Fountain in Piazza Cairoli
inaugurated with the renovation of the square, in 2003 and 2011 the multicolored fountain was inaugurated.


Monumental cemetery

The monumental cemetery is, from an artistic point of view, the second largest cemetery in Italy after that of Genoa.


Military architectures

Castle of the Most Holy Saviour
It was built by Charles V in about 1540, on the extreme arm of the port sickle, in the place where the ancient headquarters of the Archimandritate of the Most Holy Savior once existed. On the "Campana" tower, located at the end, there is a stele 60 meters high, which supports a large blessing statue of the Madonna della Letter in gilded bronze (6 meters high), the work of Tore Edmondo Calabrò. The stele was lit up for the first time in 1934 by Pope Pius XI, who operated a Guglielmo Marconi radio control from the Vatican; it appears to those arriving from the sea and in the act of blessing towards the facing city.

Castel Gonzaga
It is one of the valuable fortifications of Messina, designed by Antonio Ferramolino from Bergamo, royal military engineer, in 1540 and built in a dominant position, in Montepiselli, as part of the construction project of new mighty walls and fortifications for the city of Messina, wanted by Charles V, which made the stronghold the most equipped in the Mediterranean basin. It took its name from the viceroy of the time Don Ferrante I Gonzaga.

Royal Citadel
Imposing star-shaped military construction (5 bulwarks), located at the mouth of the sickle of the port. It was built from 1678 to 1681 by the Spaniards, to control the city after the revolt of 1674. It is known for the very long bombardments carried out on the city during the Siege of Messina in 1848, when the city rose up against the Bourbon rule and was partially destroyed by the artillery fire of the army of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the repression. Much of it is in a state of neglect.

Umbertine forts
The forts called Umbertini are so called because they were built during the reign of Umberto I of Savoy for the defense of the Strait. There are 22 in all (13 on the Sicilian coast and 9 on the Calabrian coast) and they are generally located on high ground.

Forte Cavalli, on Monte Gallo near Larderia, still in an excellent state of conservation, which dominates the city from a height of almost 500 m a.s.l. From it you can enjoy an excellent view of the Strait, which served over the years to control the French advances by sea, engaged in a campaign to attack Tunisia at that time. It derives its name from the Piedmontese general Giovanni Cavalli. It is home to the Historical Museum of the Permanent Fortification of the Strait.
Forte Campone, in a very elevated position and in excellent condition.
Forte Dinnammare, located inside the Interforce Radio Bridge, next to the homonymous sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna.
Forte dei Centri, in Salice, in good condition.
Powder magazine or Masotto battery (from the name of the commander), in Curcuraci. From the end of World War II until 1986 it was used by the Navy as a depot; it has since been in a state of neglect.
Forte Serra la Croce, between Curcuraci and Faro Superiore, in good condition.
Forte Puntal Ferraro on the Sarrizzo Hills, managed by the State Forestry Company, in good condition; there is an important veterinary center as well as hosting a small colony of fallow deer
Fort Menaja Crispi in Campo Italia; it was partly destroyed by bombing in 1943 and the remainder is in a state of abandonment.
Forte San Jachiddu, which takes its name from a Basilian hermit who lived in the Byzantine era; located at an altitude of 330 meters between the valleys of the Annunziata, San Licandro and Giostra-San Michele and used today as the center of an Ecological Park.
Forte Ogliastri, in Tremonti, in good condition; for some years important summer events have been organized there as well as hosting the VTS center for the control of maritime traffic in the Strait of Messina
Fort Petrazza, between Camaro and Bordonaro, in good condition.
Forte Schiaffino or Monte Giulitta, in Santa Lucia sopra Contesse, built in 1889-1890 to defend the area from Gazzi to Mili Marina, has no management.
Forte Mangialupi, demolished to make way for the heliport of the Policlinico; only the caponiera and some rooms in a state of abandonment remain.
Forte Spuria, near the Granatari cemetery, rebuilt at the end of the 19th century on the remains of the English Fort.


Other facilities

Castellaccio: Gravitelli's abandoned fortification. It is the oldest of the Messina forts and has undergone various alterations over time.
Matagrifone Castle or "Roccaguelfonia": only an octagonal tower remains of it, on the top of which one of the largest bells in Europe has been installed. Some bulwarks still exist, as well as the underlying and surrounding structures, together with one of the 16th century entrances;
Remains of the walls:
Lantern Tower;
Contesse Tower;
Martello Towers of Ganzirri and Faro;
Lighthouse tower;
Marble Tower;
Spuria traffic light station (1930s).
Coastal system - anti-aircraft "f.a.m." (seafront): built starting from 1936 and made up of a network of coastal batteries, observatories, firing directions and more, useful for the coastal, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft defense of the city area.
Earth system "f.a.t." (ground front): built between 1942 and 1943, consisting of a series of fortifications (bunkers, emplacements, etc.) which surround the perimeter of the city, defending it from enemy penetration attempts.


Natural areas

Villa "Giuseppe Mazzini", original name "la Flora", was designed by the Swiss engineer Enrico Fehr. It is located in the center of the city between the Prefecture, the church of S. Giovanni di Malta, the headquarters of the interregional command of the Carabinieri, viale Boccetta and via Garibaldi, once Strada Ferdinanda. Rich in Mediterranean and exotic vegetation, it is one of Messina's favorite places for leisure, inside there is the Messina Aquarium, and an aviary that houses exotic birds.
Promenade by the sea, a long space equipped on the waterfront of the city center from viale Boccetta to viale Giostra, including the headquarters of the International Fair, the view of the port and the votive column of the Madonna della Lettera is beautiful.
Villa "Dante", in front of the Monumental Cemetery and in the center of Viale San Martino, the main commercial artery of the city. It is the truly great "green lung" of Messina, built in the seventies and extending over a few hectares. It also includes a large outdoor arena for performances (auditorium), a swimming pool, a leisure center for the elderly, soccer fields and numerous play areas for children.
Villa "Albert Sabin", on viale della Libertà in front of the Regional Museum and at the northern terminus of the tramway, a large equipped green space overlooking the Strait.
Colli San Rizzo (or Colli Sarrizzo), immense natural green lung of the city with numerous equipped areas.
"Pietro Castelli" Botanical Garden, of the University of Messina, in Piazza XX Settembre, including plants from various parts of the world; naturalistic education activities are carried out there.

There are also much smaller villas:
Villetta "Quasimodo", near the railway station
Villa "Ettore Castronovo", in piazza Castronovo, starting point of the famous "Vara" of mid-August.
Villa "Giuseppe Garibaldi", located in front of the largest villa Mazzini along via Garibaldi, lined with pine trees. On site is the statue of Ferdinand II of Bourbon, which has been abandoned for years and was placed there only a few decades ago.
Piazza "Santa Caterina Valverde", tiny villa located along Via Garibaldi, in front of the Church of Santa Caterina. There is a modern-style monument dedicated to Antonello da Messina.

Two important areas of the city need work to be given to public use:
Parco "Aldo Moro", located on the ring road, in viale Regina Margherita, is the seat of the national institute of geology and volcanology with a seismological section. In November 2009, renovation works were delivered which should have lasted nine months and of which there is no news.
Forest of Camaro", waiting to be entrusted to the Forest Service. On 7 October 2010, the Region gave the go-ahead for the signing of the convention for the management of the Camaro forest and it is now possible to sign the agreement. It hides inside a real treasure: there are 7 species of rare plants, 33 species of birds (the WWF reports as many as 110); there are historic sites such as the ancient centuries-old mills, the Madonnuzza sanctuary, the Camaro stream, the house of the Re and the colony of the prince of Piedmont.The forest of Camaro also enjoys specific measures of special protection, as a site of Community interest.



In the Tremestieri area there is a good concentration of shopping centres.

1 Gamestop Italy Srl (Gamestop), Via Tommaso Cannizzaro, 76, ☎ +39 090 713880.
2 Tremestieri shopping center, S.S. 114, Km 6.200 (200 meters before the port of the same name), ☎ +39 090 6258977, fax: +39 090 6256749, Mon-Sat 9-20:30 Sun and holidays 9:30-20:30. Shopping center with 70 shops and multiplex.



A typically Messina product is the pidone, it is a half-moon rustic similar to the calzone. With curly endive (endive), tuma cheese, anchovies in salt and pepper, cooked fried or baked.

Modest prices
1 McDonald's, Via Bruno Giordano, 42 (In front of Piazza Cairoli), ☎ +39 090 6512702, fax: +39 090 6514885, €8-10 (menu). Sun-Thu 7:00-24:00, Fri-Sat 7:00-1:00.
2 McDrive, SS114 Contesse, ☎ +39 090 622188, fax: +39 090 6256231, €8-10 (menu). Sun-Fri 11-24, Sat 11-01.
3 Rotisserie F.lli Famulari, Via Cesare Battisti, 143, ☏ +39 090 771447. 8am-11pm. A rather famous rotisserie in the city, so much so that it has photos of famous people who have stopped to eat. Excellent food, friendly and attentive staff, try the "pidone" from Messina. Being famous the prices can be a bit inflated compared to other places.
4 Il Chiosco dei Colli, Località Musolino, ☎ +39 347 605 6025. Sandwiches are prepared. In summer you eat in the adjacent open space.
5 Ritrovo Lombardo, Viale S. Martino, 318, ☎ +39 090 293 6282. Bar very popular with Messina residents for aperitifs.
6 Bar Turin, Corso Cavour, 153.
7 Perigolosi ice cream shop, Via Garibaldi. Excellent ice cream parlor located in the center.
8 Pasticceria De Grazia since 1963, Via Argentieri, 24. One of the best in town.

Average prices
9 Ossidiana Restaurant, Via dei Verdi, 7, ☎ +39 090 67 58 99, +39 347 407 33 89, fax: +39 090 675899,
10 Fratelli La Bufala, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 1/2 (Near the fast shuttle dock), ☏ +39 090 662513, It is not possible to book.
11 Kajiki, Via Risorgimento, 150, ☎ +39 090 6402915, €40 on average per meal. Tue-Thu and Sun 20-23:30, Fri-Sat 20-24. Offers takeaway food service.
12 Chinese Restaurant Shanghai 2 Snc, Via Saffi Aurelio, 12.
13 Datterino, Viale S. Martino, 14. Restaurant, pizzeria.



High prices
Royal Palace Hotel JSH Framon (Royal Palace Hotel), Via Tommaso Cannizzaro, 3, ☎ +39 090 6503, fax: +39 090 2921075, €129 (double, per person).



It is advisable to maintain the usual precautionary behaviors suggested, such as not leaving one's luggage unattended or showing cash in hand for a long time.

Guardia Di Finanza, Stefano Cotugno Barracks, Via Tommaso Cannizzaro, ☎ +39 090 710540.



There are numerous post offices located in various areas of the city.

Post office Messina 2, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 148, ☎ +39 090 3689250, fax: +39 090 344655. Mon-Fri 8:20-19:05, Sat 8:20-12:35. Present post office and locker.

Telephone coverage in the city center is excellent, both 2G and 3G and 4G; there is a Fastweb mono-brand store a few steps away from Piazza Cairoli and a Wind mono-brand store.

There are landline and mobile connections, the WOW-FI network can also be used for Fastweb customers, both landline and mobile.



The closest tourist cities are Milazzo and Capo d'Orlando on Tyrrhenian Sicily, Taormina and Giardini-Naxos on the Ionian and Reggio Calabria beyond the Strait; through Villa San Giovanni it is possible to reach Scilla and Tropea.

If the day is clear, you can climb the Peloritani to reach the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Dinnammare from where you can enjoy a splendid view of the entire Strait of Messina at an altitude of 1100 meters. The cult of the sacred image in the church is very ancient and linked to some legends. According to one of them, the table was found at the top of the mountain by a shepherd boy who took it home but the next day, when he woke up, the table had disappeared to reappear again at the top of the mountain. The event would be repeated for two consecutive days. Upon hearing the news, the parish priest of Larderia wanted the sacred image to be kept in the church but once again the day after it was found on the mountain. The villagers then built a shrine on top of the mountain. According to another legend, however, the image would have been carried on the shoulders by two dolphins who deposited it on the beaches in front of Larderia, found by some fishermen and subsequently taken to the top of the mountain. The two dolphins, in fact, accompany the depiction of the Madonna and Child.
There are also several hiking trails in the surrounding area.


Useful information

Tourist information office (Just outside the central station). Mon-Fri 9:00-13:00, 15:00-17:00.



Inhabited since very remote times by the Sicani and then by the Sicels who named it Zancle, Messina was re-founded after 750 BC. by Cumani colonists and from Calcidesi, the year of the foundation of Cuma itself; however there are scholars, even contemporaries, who rely on the not entirely reliable chronology put forward by Eusebius of Cesarea, who suggests its erection in 757 BC. On the basis of this controversial foundation it would be prior to the apoikia, Greek colony, of Naxos and therefore it would be, contrary to what is asserted by the plurality of ancient sources, the first in Sicily. Founded with the name of Zancle, from the Greek Ζὰγκλης, which takes up a Sicilian term meaning "sickle", because the peninsula of San Raineri, the city's natural port, resembles a sickle. It assumed the name of Messene when Anassilao of Reggio, around 491 BC, conquered it from the Milesii, the Samii, and from the army of Hippocrates of Gela, and repopulated it with, among others, elements from Messenia. Already from the first years of the V century B.C. it became part of the Archonship of Sicily, a monarchical state entity established by the Syracusan tyrant Dionysius I, unifying all the Sicilian poleis of central-eastern Sicily and southern Calabria, under the hegemony of Syracuse, which became a real Sicilian kingdom in 304 BC. with Agathocles. In the second half of the 3rd century BC, Messina was occupied by the Mamertines, mercenaries who had fought for King Agathocles. The Romans conquered it in 264 BC. and in 241 BC. they renamed it Messana, after the victory in the first Punic war and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire it was first in the possession of the Byzantines who renamed it Messina, from the Arabs who conquered it in 843 AD. In 1061 it was conquered by the Normans, with the help of Roger I of Altavilla.

With the birth, in 1130, of the Kingdom of Sicily, during the Dynasties of the Altavilla, the Swabians, the Angiò and the Aragon-Sicily, Messina achieved great prosperity, becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily together with Palermo. The city, with its thriving port, was also linked to the Hanseatic League. Two very important military expeditions departed from the port of Messina: for the third crusade (1189-1192) and for the battle of Lepanto (1571) led by Don Giovanni of Austria.; In 1674 he rebelled against Spain; in the repression that followed, the city lost all forms of autonomy, including the senate. In the 17th century, with a population of over 120,000, Messina was among the ten largest cities in Europe. It was hit by a serious earthquake in 1783. It became part of the Kingdom of Italy after Garibaldi's expedition of the Thousand in 1860. Minister Giuseppe Natoli brought Messina back to its past glories, as soon as he was elected deputy of Messina in the newly established Sicilian Parliament, he approved a motion, on March 31, 1848, to return to Messina the free port suppressed sixty years earlier by the Bourbons; the proposal was approved unanimously. Russian biologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov discovered phagocytosis in the city in 1882; In 1908 the city suffered another terrible earthquake and was later devastated by the bombings of the Second World War. From 1 to 3 June 1955 the so-called "Messina Conference" was held in the city, at the basis of the Treaty of Rome and of the modern European Union.



With "1783 southern Calabria earthquake" (also called 1783 Reggio and Messina earthquake) we designate an intense seismic sequence that struck the area of the Strait of Messina and southern Calabria, culminating with 5 strong tremors, greater than Mw 5.9, between February 5 and March 28, 1783. It was the greatest catastrophe to hit the South in the eighteenth century. In addition to causing immense damage by razing the cities of Reggio and Messina to the ground and causing tsunamis, the earthquake had lasting effects both at a political level (the establishment of the sacred fund and the first anti-seismic regulation in Europe), and at an economic and social level. . The only area of Sicily to be affected by the earthquake was Messina, where only the Citadel remained standing, and about 650 people died. Give a time report:
«Many were wounded, many taken from the ruins, but in the confusion and disorder nothing can be said to be more certain than if it had been a true prodigy for those who escaped death. Here is a brief description of the unfortunate tragedy that occurred in Messina, the destruction of whose buildings exceeds the value of five million, and the devastation and loss of furniture, merchandise, gold, silver and money was a serious object of fear and consideration »

Four years after the event, Goethe arrives in Messina during his Journey to Italy, telling of a city still in ruins with the inhabitants forced to live in the barracks located in the northern part of the city.
“The 30,000 survivors were left homeless; most of the houses having collapsed, and the damaged walls of the remainder not offering a safe refuge, a town of barracks was hastily built on a vast prairie to the north.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, May 11, 1787)

The Messina earthquake is considered one of the most catastrophic events of the 20th century. The event occurred at 05:21 on December 28, 1908 and in 37 seconds seriously damaged the city causing thousands of victims. In the cloud of dust that obscured the sky, under torrential rain and in the dark, the survivors, taken by surprise, were unable to immediately realize what had happened. Some headed towards the sea, others remained near their homes, in an attempt to bring relief to family and friends. Here they were caught in the explosions and fires caused by the gas that was given off by the interrupted pipes. The fires spread, setting fire to houses, buildings and palaces located near the coast.

To the damage caused by seismic shocks and fires were added those caused by a very strong tidal wave. It poured onto the coastal areas of the entire Strait of Messina with devastating waves estimated, based on the locality, between 6 m and 12 m in height. It caused many casualties among those who had massed on the seashore. As they retreated, the waves sucked up boats, corpses and wounded. Some vessels at anchor were damaged, others managed to keep their moorings colliding with each other but suffering limited damage. The village of Faro located a few kilometers from Messina was almost completely destroyed. The force of the waves swept away the houses located near the beach in other areas as well. The places hardest hit were Pellaro, Lazzaro and Gallico on the Calabrian coasts; Briga and Paradiso, Sant'Alessio and the other towns up to Riposto on the Sicilian coast.

The number of victims was very serious: Messina, which at the time had about 140,000 inhabitants, lost about 70,000. A significant page of friendship between the city and the Russian people is linked to the tragic earthquake of 1908. In fact, the first rescuers who arrived in Messina were the sailors of the Russian imperial fleet, which was in the port of Augusta for exercises.

More earthquakes
On January 6, 1975, March 11, 1978, April 15, 1978 and December 13, 1990 there were other tremors.

Flood of 2009
On the evening of 1 October 2009, the city of Messina, in particular in the hamlet of Giampilieri, together with the neighboring municipality of Scaletta Zanclea, was hit by a terrible flood with dramatic consequences: hundreds of buildings seriously damaged or destroyed, major damage to infrastructure (roads , bridges, railways) and a heavy toll of human lives: 37 dead, almost 102 wounded and 6 missing.




According to Catholic tradition, St. Paul, during his wanderings across the Mediterranean to Rome to spread the Good News, would have landed in the year 41 AD. C. in Messina, a city already then very thriving from an economic point of view thanks to its port.

Here he, preaching the Christian doctrine, would have immediately inflamed the hearts of many Messina citizens and, among them, of the Senators citizens of the time, who, having learned from the Apostle of the Gentiles of the existence, in Jerusalem, of the Mother of the Lord, immediately decided to go there to ask for his blessing on the City.

Our Lady wrote about her in her own hand and gave a Letter to the Messina ambassadors, in which she blessed the city and its inhabitants and constituted herself perpetual Protector of her. On 8 September 42 AD. the ship brought the ambassadors to the city of the Strait with the Letter of Mary, which the sender Celeste herself had rolled up and tied with some of her hair. This letter appears to be kept in the Vatican Museums in Rome. According to a legend, Maria would have chosen to be the patroness of Messina and not the other way around. This tradition has contributed greatly to rooting the Marian cult in the city.

"We bless you and your city"

Since then, Messina for Catholics became the Marian city par excellence, boasting as a credential the fact that it had been chosen "directly by her Patroness". This choice would be attested by a statement by Flavio Lucio Destro, from the 2nd century. The relic of the Madonna's hair is kept in the Cathedral, which is carried in procession on an artistic silver vessel on the day of Corpus Domini. It is said that following a plague the population of Palmi was considerably reduced and the Senate of Messina decided to carry part of the Lock of Hair in procession to Palmi, when they arrived at the gates of the Calabrian town the plague ended immediately. In gratitude, the procession of the Vara (assumption into heaven of Mary) is repeated in Palmi on the Sunday after 15 August.

Catholics celebrate the feast of the Madonna della Lettera on June 3, with a well-attended procession of the silver fercolo engraved with the silver statuette of the Madonna, modeled by Lio Gangeri in 1902 and the relic of the Capello di Maria contained in a precious monstrance (the The letter was lost in one of the many fires that devastated the Cathedral during its troubled history). The city of Messina is home to many religious minorities, the Pentecostals are the most numerous, there are also Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Waldensians and a strong Islamic concentration due to strong emigrations.


Traditions and folklore

The Good Friday festival winds its way through the main streets of the city with the procession of the Barette (Varette), dating back to 1610 and made up of eleven groups of statues depicting episodes from the Passion of Christ. This procession has taken place several times for more than 150 years and owes the name of Barette to the fact that in the first editions there was only the simulacrum of Our Lady of Sorrows and a fercolo with the dead Christ and five little bars representing the mysteries. Among the last interruptions that lasted a few years for the earthquake of 1908 and the period of the Second World War. Over the years, other simulacra have gradually been added up to the current twenty-one. The little bars remain kept in the Oratorio della Pace which has a portal dating back to the pre-earthquake period.

On the day of the Corpus Domini feast, a long procession winds its way from the Cathedral preceded by hooded Catholic faithful called "Babaluci" and by all the religious associations, congregations and arch-confraternities of the city. Together with the monstrance with the SS. Sacramento, carried under a rich silk canopy by the Archbishop, is carried on the shoulder of the "Vascelluzzo" (small vessel), a fercolo in chiselled silver adorned with small red drapes and ears of wheat. The work is an ex voto made by the people of Messina as a sign of thanksgiving to the Madonna della Letter who, according to legend, on the occasion of various famines, brought some vessels loaded with grain to the port of the city. The Vascelluzzo is kept in the Chiesa dei Marinai and is displayed behind safety glass as well as two heavy overexposed iron grates. On the morning of Corpus Domini he is carried on the shoulders of 16 people, with a pace that makes it seem that Vascelluzzo is sailing in the sea, and enters the Cathedral at the stroke of noon. Once arrived at the main altar, the relic of the lock of the Madonna's hair is placed in the center of the vessel. In the evening after the Holy Mass, the Vascelluzzo without the relic is brought back in procession to the Church of the Sailors where he is greeted with the firing of fireworks.


The mid-August procession

However, the most important Catholic festival is the one that takes place on August 15 each year: thousands of faithful, dressed in white and blue and barefoot, carry in procession an ancient votive machine: the Vara, depicting the phases of the 'Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. The Vara, about 13 and a half meters high, rests on large metal slides and has numerous figures of angels in different materials, the two large rotating spheres of the Sun and the Moon and, at the top, the statue of Christ who, with one hand, he supports Maria, in the act of carrying her to the Empyrean; the faithful drag it by pulling the long hawsers (each 230 m, 5 cm thick) that are attached to the base along the previously wet pavement of Corso Garibaldi, from piazza Castronovo to via I settembre and then from via I settembre, the historic artery of the city , up to Piazza Duomo, where the procession ends in the evening. From 11.00 pm a great fireworks display, visible from all over the Strait, closes the day of celebration.

The Vara is a triumphal machine, built for the first time in 1535, in honor of the emperor Charles V, who was visiting Messina in that year. An important cinematographic testimony of the Vara procession can be found in the film Made in Italy, an Italian episodic film from 1965 directed by Nanni Loy. It is said that in June 1575 an epidemic of plague broke out in Messina which lasted about thirty years causing the death of over 40,000 people, after the battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571) and in a short time it also spread to Reggio Calabria and in the other coasts of Calabria. The citizens of Palmi welcomed those who fled from the Peloritan city and also, through its sailors, sent aid with food and oil. After the calamity, the city of Messina, as a sign of gratitude towards the Calabrian town, with a resolution of the city Senate wanted to donate to the ecclesial authorities of Palmi, as a sign of thanksgiving for the aid provided, one of the alleged hairs of the Madonna which were brought to the city Sicilian in 42 AD together with a letter of blessing and protection attributed to the mother of Christ.

In the days preceding August 15, the city streets are crossed by the festive procession of the two Giants and the Camel, together with numerous folk groups. In particular, the two colossal statues on horseback depict the legendary founders of the city, Mata from Messina and the Moor Grifone (called "u giganti e a gigantissa").

The statues derive from the processional giants of the ancient Catalan tradition, still present today in many areas of Catalonia and used on the occasion of various festivities, such as Tarragona for the feast of Santa Tecla, or during the fiesta Mayor de Reus which takes place on St. Peter Reus. Contact with the Catalan domination brought about the tradition of processional giants which has also spread to Sicily and today is linked to the cult of the Virgin Mary, as in the case of the giants Mata and Grifone of the feast of the Assumption in Messina and the giants Kronos and Mytia of the feast of the Madonna of the light of Mistretta, while the Camel recalls the triumphal entry into Messina, at the beginning of the conquest of Sicily taken from the Arabs, of the Norman Count Roger I of Altavilla, which according to tradition took place on the back of a camel .



Located in the north east corner of Sicily, on the western shore of the Strait of Messina (Ionian Sea) - altitude 3 meters above sea level - it extends for 213.75 km² of municipal area.

The town is located 96 km from Catania and 223 km from Palermo, squeezed between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts and the Peloritani mountains, overlooking its large natural, military and commercial port, closed by the sickle-shaped peninsula of San Raineri, in front of Villa San Giovanni and just north of Reggio Calabria. Capo Peloro, in the north of the city, is instead opposite Scilla. In these waters the myth of Scylla and Charybdis is located, whose whirlpools are compared to the pain of the souls of hell that go round and round and collide for ever ("qui people laugh").

From sea level, within the same municipality, it is possible to climb up to 1 128 meters above sea level, through the hills overlooking the city, to Mount Dinnammare, from the Latin "bimaris", two seas. From here the view sweeps over the two seas of the city, the Lonio, the Strait of Messina and the Tyrrhenian. To the east, it is possible to see the entire city of Messina, while beyond the sea, Calabria from its southernmost point up to Capo Vaticano, in the province of Vibo Valentia. To the south, the imposing view of Etna is clearly visible. To the north west, the Aeolian islands and the Tyrrhenian coast with Capo Milazzo, Capo Tindari and Capo Calavà di Gioiosa Marea.

The city develops mainly in a longitudinal direction along the coast of the strait without interruption from Giampilieri Marina to Capo Peloro for 32 km in the Ionian belt. The Tyrrhenian belt, of 24 km, extends from Capo Peloro to Ponte Gallo. The central urban area, which can be enclosed between the Annunziata and San Filippo streams, now covered by the road level, is about 12 km long, with little inclination towards the west due to the hilly buttresses of the Peloritani, which prevent the development of a large network geometric urban in that direction. The extreme proximity of the mountains gives the western part of the city a certain slope, overcome by stairways and crossed by the panoramic ring road located upstream. Inland there are numerous "urban intrusions", corresponding to the short plains of the streams, which tend to incorporate as neighborhoods some of the oldest farmhouses in the city, the so-called "Villages", currently 48.

Messina is located in the center of an agricultural area, with a consistent production of citrus fruits, including lemon, orange, mandarin and mandarane or clementine, fruit, vegetables, D.O.C. Faro and, since 2016, of beer (DOC 15 and Birra dello Stretto). Since 1548 the city is the seat of the university, of the Protometropolitan Archdiocese of Messina - Lipari - Santa Lucia del Mela and of the Archimandrite of the Holy Savior and of an ancient Messina International Fair which ended in 2013. The port was home to an ancient military arsenal and It is still the seat of the Rodriquez shipyards, now Intermarine, and Palumbo.



According to the Köppen climate classification, the city is part of the Csa climate zone, a warm and very dry climate in the summer and mild and rainy in the winter semester. Also known as Mediterranean climate, with decidedly contained temperature variations in every season.

The short winter presents rare episodes of cold which in few cases can also bring snow to the hinterland of the city. The last snow episode occurred on January 7, 2017, preceded by the event of January 30, 1999.

The hot summer, thanks to the sea breezes, is not particularly sultry. In fact, the average humidity value tends to be lower during the hottest hours of the day. Furthermore, the presence of the sea tends to contain the maximum temperature values; only in the presence of southerly winds (during the major heat waves) can 40 ° C be reached, and in these cases the humidity rates are very high reaching over 80%.

Rainfall is consistent; in fact Messina is among the medium-large island towns, the rainiest coastal city in Sicily. An annual rainfall average of 846.9 mm places the city of the strait above the Italian averages. Rainfall is mainly concentrated between autumn and winter but there are some thunderstorms in the summer season. The abundant Messina rains derive from various factors and in particular to the relatively high hills near the area on which the city stands, in Sicily the eastern Nebrodi and the Peloritani, in Calabria the Aspromonte, reliefs that cause frequent stau phenomena and the presence of two seas, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian, which create frequent conditions favorable to rainfall.