Messina is considered the "entrance gate to Sicily". Its wide harbour, between the Ionian and the Thyrrenian Sea, makes it a key natural landing place. Being so close to Calabria, Messina is also the perfect point of junction between continental Italy and Sicily as for land transportations.

Messina was founded by Greek colonists in VII century B.C., and its ancient name was Zancle, meaning "scythe", because of the natural shape of its harbour.

The rest of its history is no different from the destiny of all other cities in Sicily; different dominations have left innumerable different traces in culture, dialect and urban development.

Highlights in Messina

Messina Cathedral

Piazza Duomo, adorned with the elegant Orione Fountain, hosts the major artistic monument in Messina, the Cathedral, mostly popular for the belltower with its renown clock, one of the biggest and most sophisticated in the world thanks to its innumerable mechanisms and figures, including a lion, a cock, the local heroines Dina and Clarenza, Montalto Sanctuary and the so-called Virgin of the Letter, matron of the town.

The ruins of S. Mary Alemanna Church are also worth a visit, being the building one of the few examples of gothic style still erect.

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