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Messina is a city in the northeast corner of Sicily, Italy. It's a 3rd largest city on the island.

Messina harbour - aerial view


Messina ([mesˈsiːna], Sicilian: Missina, Greek: Μεσσήνη/Μεσσήνα) is known as the door of Sicily. Situated only 5 km across the Strait of Messina to the region of Calabria on the mainland, Messina has served as the gateway for the busy traffic between Sicily and the mainland over the centuries. With its seaport shaped like a sickle, Messina has always been a trading city.

Tourist Information[edit]

  • 1 Ufficio informazioni turistiche, Piazza della Repubblica, 1 (Palazzo Satellite), +39 090 7723728, e-mail: . M W 9:00-13:00 15:00-18:30, Tu Th 9:00-13:00 15:00-17:00, F 9:00-13:00. The office provides information and support to visitors to the city is about to logistical information, places to visit, timetables of means of transport, etc.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport is Aeroporto dello Stretto. It's across the Straight of Messina. A shuttle bus connects the airport with Reggio di Calabria. From there you can take a Liberty Lines hydrofoil to Messina.

Another close airport is Catania-Fontanarossa. SAIS Autolinee provides a direct bus service between the airport and the city.

By train[edit]

Messina is Sicily's link to the main Italian train network. Long distance trains from Rome and Naples cross the Straits of Messina by ferry and continue on to Palermo and Catania. Regular regional trains also run to Milazzo, Cefalu, Taormina and Syracuse.

By boat[edit]

There are at least hourly ferries to Villa San Giovanni on the mainland and also several hydrofoils each day to Reggio di Calabria.

  • Bluferries. Hydrofoils Messina Porto storico - Villa San Giovanni (20 min). Also car ferries 3 Messina Tremestieri - Villa San Giovanni. €2,50.
  • Liberty Lines. Hydrofoils 4 Messina Porto storico - Reggio Calabria (30 min). Also services to Aeolian Islands €3,25.
  • Caronte & Tourist. Ferries 5 Messina rada San Francesco - Villa San Giovanni. Also services to Salerno. €2,50.
  • Meridiano Lines. Ferries Messina Tremestieri - Reggio Calabria (40 min)[1], [2]

Some visitors arrive by cruise ships, most frequently in the summer season. Ships often berth right along side of downtown within an easy walk to the popular Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the Cathedral and clock tower, which is served by many tour buses and a hop-on/hop-off double-decked bus offering a modest overview of the waterfront portion of the city.

By bus[edit]

Long-distance buses stop in Messina, linking Rome and Naples to Catania and Palermo (Sais Autolinee). Regional buses also run to Taormina (by Interbus), Milazzo (by Giuntabus) for the Aeolian Islands.

  • 6 Intrecity bus hub, Piazza della Repubblica (next to the railway station).

Get around[edit]

Messina tranvia map

By bus[edit]

  • ATM (Azienda Trasporti di Messina) (the bus hub is at the Piazza della Repubblica, in front of Stazione Centrale). It provide bus services for the city. Single € 1,20; Single on board € 1,50; 90 min. pass € 1,25; 2 journey pass € 1,70; day pass € 2,60.

Bus 79, terminated at the Istituto Marino most north-eastern tip of the island, perhaps is quite useful one. It makes stops at the Duomo, the Museo Regionale, and out to Torre Faro.

By tram[edit]

In addition to a bus system, Messina has a light rail system.

  • Tranvia di Messina. The line runs mostly parallel to the shoreline from Bonino Zir terminus at the Gazzi district towards Piazzia Respublica at the city centre (with connection to the Messina Centrale railway station) then towards Muse terminus at the Annunziata district. It takes about 40 mIn. to reach its one end from another (approx. 7.7 km). Trams are scheduled with 10-15 min. interval. Trams in Messina on Wikipedia


Fontana di Orione with Duomo and it's campanile in the background
Palazzo Zanca (Municipio)
Portal of the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà

There is not too much of historical architecture remains in the city due to earthquakes (esp. in 1908) and WWII bombing. Still there are enough things to see there to make a good walk. Places around the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montalto and Cristo Re offer beautiful panoramic views over the harbour and the Strait of Messina (see the banner).

  • 1 Madonna della Lettera (Statua della SS. Madonna di Messina). The Madonna of the Letter is venerated by the Catholic Church as a saint patron of Messina. A towering gilded statue of the Madonna della Lettera is located atop of the tall Forte San Salvatore tower at the tip of the sickle in the sickle-shaped harbour. The inscription "We bless you and your City" is taken from a letter from Mary in 42 AD. it:Madonna della Lettera on Wikipedia
  • 2 Duomo di Messina (Basilica Cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Assunta), Piazza del Duomo. A Gothic style cathedral which dates back to the 12th century. The Cathedral suffered serious damage in the 1908 earthquake and was restored between 1919 and 1920. During the Second World War, Allied bombings destroyed part of the Cathedral, which was rebuilt in 1943. It is consecrated to The “ Virgin of the Letter”, The Patronnes of the Town. Messina Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • Campanile del duomo di Messina, Piazza del Duomo (next to the Duomo). The Duomo's bell tower has one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world, built in 1933 by the Ungerer Company of Strasbourg. A must-see for visitors with an amazing clock show, including symbolical and allegorical moving metal animals and statues, every day at 12:00 (noon)! it:Orologio astronomico di Messina on Wikipedia
  • Fontana di Orione, Piazza del Duomo (next to the Duomo). Work of Montorsoli (1547), a student of Michelangelo. Orion, with his dog Sirius, is portrayed as one of the legendary founders of Messina. it:Fontana di Orione on Wikipedia
  • 3 Palazzo Calapaj-d'Alcontres (next to the Duomo). An 18th century building, perhaps of a relatively modest exterior, but it's one of a few ones survived the earthquake of 1908. it:Palazzo Calapaj-d'Alcontres on Wikipedia
  • 4 Palazzo Zanca, Piazza Unione Europea. Municipio of Messina was built in 1924 in Neoclassical style under direction by Antonio Zanca. it:Palazzo Zanca on Wikipedia
  • Fontana Senatoria (at the southern corner of the Palazzo Zanca).
  • 5 Chiesa dei Catalani (Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani). One of a few survivors of the earthquake in 1908. Its origin dates to the 12th century in later Norman style with Arabic-influenced elements. Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani on Wikipedia
  • 6 Quattro Fontane. Two smaller fountains survived out of four built between 1666 and 1742. it:Quattro Fontane (Messina) on Wikipedia
  • 7 ex Chiesa di Santa Maria Alemanna. This former church built early 13th century is a rare example of a Gothic style in the city. The church was badly damaged in 1908 and was open back to the public only in 2001. Currently it hosts various exhibitions. it:Chiesa di Santa Maria Alemanna on Wikipedia
  • 8 Chiesa del Carmine (Santuario della Madonna del Carmelo). A church with 7 chapels decorated inside with polychrome marble. It also known for its Tamburini Organ renown for its complex rich sounds (installed in 1950s). Chiesa del Carmine (Messina)#The_Tamburini_organ on Wikipedia
  • 9 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III. An eclectic building constructed between 1924 and 1929 in Liberty style. Inside it consists of 3 passages converging into a hexagonal centre covered by a glass dome. It's somewhat similar to other galleria's across Italy. it:Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III on Wikipedia
  • 10 Palazzo del Monte di Pietà. The current building is essentially a ground floor of the former palazzo which was severely damaged by earthquakes and WWII bombing. Palazzo del Monte di Pietà (Messina) on Wikipedia
  • 11 Santuario della Madonna di Montalto. Sanctuary is a building made in an eclectic style with Gothic and Romanesque elements, located high above the Piazza del Duomo. From its lookout point, with a statue of the Pope admiring the view, you can enjoy a panorama of the Messina harbour and the Strait of Messina. it:Santuario della Madonna di Montalto on Wikipedia
  • 12 Fontana Falconieri, Piazza Basicò.
  • 13 Sacrario di Cristo Re. Built at the remains of the medieval castle of Matagrifone, Christ the King is a majestic domed memorial chapel, located on a hilltop north of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montalto. also with a beautiful panoramic view of the harbour and strait. Built in 1937, it serves as a burial chamber in honour of some fellow citizens who died in Africa as soldiers in the Second World War. it:Sacrario di Cristo Re on Wikipedia
  • 14 Chiesa di Montevergine (Santuario di Montevergine) (at the Monastero di Montevergine S. Eustochia Smeralda). The church hosts remains of the Catholic saint Eustochia Smeralda Calafato. it:Chiesa di Montevergine (Messina) on Wikipedia
  • 15 Fontana del Nettuno, Via G. Garibaldi. Another monumental fountain by Montorsoli featuring Neptune accompanied with Scylla and Charybdis. it:Fontana del Nettuno (Messina) on Wikipedia
  • 16 Porta Grazia di Messina, Piazza Casa Pia. The former main gate of the Messina's citadel. These days it stays at the Piazza Casa Pia dei Poveri. A few other surviving parts of the citadel still can be seen at the original location of the citadel at the SE corner of the port albeit in a pretty neglected state. Real Cittadella on Wikipedia
  • 17 Villa de Pasquale (Palazzo de Pasquale), Via Marco Polo 266 (Contesse district), +39 0903674611, e-mail: . A beautiful Neo-Renaissance villa in Liberty style built in 1912 and restored in 2016.


Pylon of Torre Faro overshadows the Capo Peloro lighthouse (right)
  • 1 Museo regionale di Messina, Viale della Libertà 465 (tram terminus "Museo"), +39 090361292. Tu-Sa 9:00-19:00, Su 9:00-13:00. Collections of medieval art and modern works particularly marked: altarpiece of San Gregorio by Antonello da Messina, Resurrezione di Lazzaro (Raising of Lazarus), Adorazione dei pastori (Adoration of the Shepherds) by Caravaggio. €8. it:Museo regionale di Messina on Wikipedia
  • 2 Orto Botanico (Orto Botanico "Pietro Castelli" dell'Università di Messina), Piazza XX Settembre, +39 090 391940, e-mail: . M-F 8:00-12:00. Admission free. Orto Botanico "Pietro Castelli" dell'Università di Messina on Wikipedia
  • 3 Teatro Vittorio Emanuele II, Via G. Garibaldi. it:Teatro Vittorio Emanuele II on Wikipedia
  • 4 Pilone di Torre Faro (take bus 79 to the Torre Faro at the most NE tip of Sicily). It's one of two Piloni dello Stretto, decommissioned electricity pylons across Messina Strait. They were built in 1957 to support 220kV power line over the Strait of Messina. It is a 224 metres tall steel lattice tower, which is today an observation tower with an observation platform 200 metres high. Unfortunately you have to walk 1250 steps up and down, but the great view on the huge structure and the good view over Messina Strait is surely worth it! And while you're in Torre Faro, might as well visit the nearby active Capo Peloro lighthouse. Piloni dello Stretto on Wikipedia
  • Lakes of Ganzirri and Faro, at the Capo Peloro Lighthouse area north of the city, in the north-eastern tip of Sicily. You can reach the two lakes by taking bus number 79 from ATM bus terminal (Parcheggio Cavallotti) close to the train station. At the lakes, the extraordinary marine landscapes are an awe-inspiring sight. It is also the site for the northern tower of the planned, twice-approved and twice-cancelled, Strait of Messina bridge (which locals hope will never be built) and the decommissioned Pylon of Torre Faro (see below). Moreover, the lakes are the right place to have very good fish, seafood, and many other Sicilian specialties .



The best pizza in town is Pizza Capitano just off Piazza Cairoli. The owner is a little gruff however the wood oven gives an authentic Sicilian flavor. Its also excellent value and is always busy especially during Series A football matches when the atmosphere reaches fever pitch.

For visitors there for just a day, look for family pastry store that offer cannoli... a genuine Sicilian treat.


For a taste of Irish authenticity drop into Dockers near the cruise mooring area.



  • Flats with different sizes all provided with kitchen fridge and washing machine for a simple but good stay, they are located in the north part of the city.


  • La Residenza. Charming, elegant, four stars hotel in the centre.
  • Hotel il Mulino, Via A. Doria, 46, Capo D'Orlando, Ph. +39 0941 902431 Fax +39 0941 911614 [3]. Among the hotels in Capo d'Orlando, the Hotel Il Mulino boasts a privileged position: overlooking the sea on the beautiful sandy beach in the centre. The hotel is about 200 meters from the pedestrian area and about 300 meters from the train station.
  • Tourist Village Capo Calavà, +39 0941 302501, fax: +39 0941 301188. C.da Capo Calavà, Gioiosa Marea. Directly on the beach and in the heart of a verdant park with a piano bar, discotheque, miniclub, restaurant, wellness center, business center, and 280 comfortable rooms. Prices start from 420€ per week.


  • Hotel Royal Palace In the heart of the commercial centre, 200 meters far from the station. The restaurant "Lo Scrigno" offers a refined service and the best dishes of the cuisine of Messina and Sicily and selected specialties of the National cuisine as well.
  • Grand Avalon Sikani Resort & Residence Sicily, Contrada Licari, Goioiosa Marea, +39 0941 301100. Features 119 guest and family rooms wit sea view of the Aeolian Islands. Private beach. Located in the Northern Coast of Sicily (Goioiosa Marea) very near Messina. Facilities: A/C, infinity swimming pool, sea-view solarium, running center, spa & wellnes center, banquet facilities, conference centre.
  • Villa Luca Messina, +39 0941 702394, fax: +39 0941 701383. Contrada Muti 1, Sant'Agata Militello. Relaxing country house located on the edge of Messina, immerse in a fantastic green area with a swimming pool. The Villa Luca offers 12 guest rooms, one for disables, with private bath and breakfast included. Double and twin rooms €65; triple and family 92.

Go next[edit]

  • Novara di Sicilia - Located in the province of Messina on the northern side of Mt. Etna, this picturesque medieval town is nestled in the mountains overlooking ancient Tyndaris and Abacaenum. It is the archetype of a typical medieval town, with its friendly and accommodating people who speak a distinctive dialect.
This city travel guide to Messina is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.