Messina is a large Sicilian province known for its gorgeous coastline, historic landmarks and proximity to Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest volcano. Explore ancient Greek ruins and medieval churches, go hiking on the Aeolian Islands and relax on beaches or in secluded coves.
With only a few miles separating Messina from the Italian mainland, the province’s capital, also called Messina is often the first port of call for many visitors. But it is so much more than a gateway to the rest of Sicily.
Stay a while to explore its historical attractions. Go to the Cathedral of Messina, which dates back to the 12th century. Gaze up at the astronomical clock in the bell tower and watch the mechanical figures perform scenes from the city's history at noon. The cathedral stands on the Piazza del Duomo, which also features the 16th-century Orion fountain.
While you are based in the city, take the short drive along the coast to the Torre Faro. Climb the 1,250 steps to the top of this former electricity pylon for stunning views of the Messina Strait.
If your stay in Messina’s capital has given you a taste for history, discover more of the province’s past at the hillside town of Taormina. Go to its ancient Greek amphitheater which was also used by the Romans after they conquered the town. Today, it’s also a concert venue. From this spot, as in many other place in Taormina, you can enjoy wonderful views of Mount Etna.
For some relaxation during your time in Taormina, stroll through the beautiful gardens of Giardini della Villa Comunale. Then stretch out on the beaches below the town.
Make your way to another hillside destination, the medieval village of Novara di Sicilia. Tour its old churches and look out to the Aeolian Islands off Sicily's northeastern coast. Take a ferry over to the archipelago and hike along its extensive trails, go bird watching and scuba diving.
To experience Messina's ancient history and natural beauty, come by ferry or train from mainland Italy or fly into Catania Airport.