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Messina, Province of Messina, Sicily

Messina is the third largest city in Sicily after Palermo and Catania, located on the strait that separates the Italian peninsula from the island. Famous citizens of Messina were Antonello da Messina, Italian painter and genius of the Renaissance, born in 1430 and Filippo Juvara (Juvarra), among the main architects of the Baroque period, born in 1678.

Info

  • Altitude: 3 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 230,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 98100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 090
  • Frazioni & Localities: Castanea delle Furie, Giampilieri Marina, Giampilieri Superiore, Lido Mortelle, Torrefaro.

History

Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle (scythe) because of the shape of its natural harbour. Of that name there still remains the 'Scaletta Zanclea' stairs. The city was sacked in 396 BC by the Carthaginians. Messina was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake and following tsunami on the morning of December 28, 1908, that killed over 75,000 people.

What to see

  • The Museo Regionale of Messina, a little outside the city, with a great many items salvaged from churches and palaces destroyed in the 1908 earthquake, as well as works of art by artists as Caravaggio and Antonello da Messina
  • The Acquario Comunale, hosting 22 Mediterranean tanks, and 8 different aquariums reproducing enviroments from all over the world.
  • The church of SSanta Maria dei Catalani, 12th century, in the Arab-Norman style
  • The Cathedral Museum (Museo del Duomo) with a great many church furniture in gold, silver and gilded silbver, made by goldsmiths and silversmiths of the Messinese school, among them a unique piece, the 17th-century "manta d'oro" of the Madonna della Lettera, size 170cm x 110, all decorated with jewels.
  • In 1957 a 220kV-overhead powerline was built across the strait of Messina. At the time of its construction, its pylons were the highest in the world. This powerline has since been replaced by an underwater cable, but the pylons still remain, protected as historical monuments.

Where to stay