Perched on the north-eastern corner of Sicily, Messina is a lively port city that’s separated from mainland Italy by the Strait of Messina. It’s home to excellent museums and a striking cathedral and is near beautiful beaches and a charming medieval town.
Things to do in Messina
Discover the rich history of the 12th-century Norman Messina Cathedral, which has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. It’s renowned for its soaring Gothic portal, mullioned windows and astronomical clock and is home to the Treasure Museum where highly-prized gold and silver works are exhibited.
Make a day trip to the medieval mountain town of Novara di Sicilia, which overlooks the ancient remains of Tyndaris and Abacaenum. Wander along the cobblestone streets to visit the 16th-century cathedral that dominates Piazza Duomo, then discover the region’s cultural heritage at the Anthropological Museum.
Admire the octagonal striped tower of Punta del Faro, a 19th-century black-and-white lighthouse that watches over the Straits of Messina. It lies adjacent to the powdery white sands of Mortelle, where locals like to soak up the sun, as well as the lakeside town of Ganzirri that’s clustered with seafood restaurants.
Want to see an original Caravaggio painting? Visit the Regional Museum of Messina where two works by this renowned Baroque artist are on display. Admire sculptures by local and international artists dating from the 12th to 18th centuries, together with decorative works from damaged or destroyed buildings in Messina.
Getting around Messina
Messina is a 20-minute ferry ride from Villa San Giovanni on the Italian mainland and around three hours’ drive from Palermo Airport. Both trains and buses connect Messina to destinations across Sicily, while the station and harbour are linked by a light rail system.