One day in Messina - city tour


The port city of Messina is located on the northeastern tip of Sicily. More than 160 cruise ships were registered for a stop in Messina in 2019. The ships visit the city mainly because of its proximity to the small Sicilian town Taormina or because of the Etna volcano.

Tour of Messina

Not every ship traveler is drawn to the trendy destinations Taormina or the UNESCO World Heritage Site Etna. A city tour in Messina also leaves many lasting memories. We discover the main sights on a city tour and find out that a walk through Messina is not a wasted day. It is particularly advantageous that the cruise ships dock close to the center. We describe the main attractions of the city under Messina sightseeing.

Messina center with cathedral

Messina center with cathedral


Our first destination - the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta

On the way to the cathedral we pass the first two sights. They are the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani church and the monument to Don Giovanni d'Austria. We find the church locked. Scientists believe that the 12th-century structure was built over the ruins of the Roman Temple of Neptune. Catalan merchants settled in Messina in the 16th century. The name of the church is derived from the Catalans.

Monument to Don Giovanni d'Austria

The monument to Don Giovanni d'Austria is dedicated to the hero of the naval battle of Lepanto. Before the battle, the Holy League fleet gathered in the port of Messina. Then she went to the Gulf of Patras and defeated the Turkish Armada. Their commander, Ali Pasha, lost his life in the fighting. The statue shows Don Giovanni d'Austria in a martial victory pose; he stands with one foot on the head of the killed Turkish leader Ali Pasha.

Church of Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani


Church of Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani 


Monument to Don Giovanni d'Austria


Monument to Don Giovanni d'Austria 


Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta

Messina's more than 800 year old cathedral Maria Santissima Assunta is a worthwhile destination. Little of its original structure has been preserved; the church was destroyed several times by fire and earthquake. The earthquakes of 1783 and 1908 in particular caused terrible damage. The cathedral was destroyed for the last time by attacks by Allied bomber groups on Messina. The wooden ceiling of the nave, the side aisles flanked by figures of saints, the treasury and the free-standing bell tower are particularly worth seeing.

Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta
Cathedral Maria Santissima Assunta - facade
Cathedral Maria Santissima Assunta - wooden ceiling of the nave
Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta


Like the cathedral, the campanile has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The current structure is based on the architectural style of Norman church towers. At lunchtime, figures are set in motion on six floors, one above the other, depicting historical, religious events in the city. A roaring lion initiates the procedure. To list all the figures in detail would go too far at this point. We find the golden rooster appearing on the second floor amusing. He utters piercing screams that we hear over a kilometer away.

Our next destination - the Santuario della Madonna di Montalto

Fontana d'Orione

Before we make our way to the church della Madonna di Montalto, let's take a look at the Orion Fountain in front of the cathedral. The pompous fountain complex stands on the Piazza Duomo and is dedicated to the Greek god Orion. According to legend, Orion founded the city of Messina.

Fontana d'Orione - the Orion fountain


Fontana d'Orione - the Orion fountain


Statua dell'Immacolata


Statua dell'Immacolata 


Statua dell'Immacolata

We walk over to the north side of the cathedral. There is a sculpture made of white marble in a small park on Via Cristoforo Colombo. It is the statua dell'Immacolata. The column of the Immaculate Conception was donated to commemorate an accident during a procession. In the event, people had an accident with a float. They were miraculously unharmed. The statue was erected in gratitude for this.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III

Go through the Via Loggia dei Mercanti to the Palazzo Dei Leoni, the seat of government of the province. The palazzo is on Corso Cavour. After a few steps we come to Piazza Antonello. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III is located on the circular square. We last saw the representative building in September 2011. At this point in time it was empty and left to decay. It is now being used again as a commercial gallery and for restaurants. It is a bit like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, although the Milan Passage is many times more classy and attractive.

Piazza Antonello - in the background the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III

Piazza Antonello - in the background the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III


 

 

Fontana Falconieri

Back to Messina: At the Galleria we turn left into Via Sant 'Agostino. We follow the slightly uphill road until we reach the Fontana Falconieri. The fountain system consists of several basins. Four monsters surround the main pool. The legendary figures have the head of a person, a dolphin, a griffin and a lion.

Fontana Falconieri


Fontana Falconieri


Fontana Falconieri - the dolphin


Fontana Falconieri - the dolphin 


Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto

From now on we go steeply uphill over a wide staircase to the Santuario della Madonna di Montalto. The ascent to the church is well worth the effort: from the top we can enjoy the wonderful panoramic view of the city, the harbor and the Italian mainland opposite. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1286. It was consecrated in 1389. A further 100 years later a nunnery was built on the site. We recommend visiting the church garden; it can be reached from inside the church.

Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto


Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto


Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto


Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto 


Shrine of Christ the King

At the Santuario della Madonna di Montalto we orientate ourselves to the right and walk along Via Dina e Clarenza. After about 150 meters we reach Viale Principe Umberto and turn right. After a 20 minute walk we are in front of the Sacrario di Cristo Re. The octagonal structure crowned by a dome guards the bones of soldiers and civilians who died in the First and Second World Wars. As can be read, the memorial has the third largest bell in Italy.

Shrine of Christ the King
Shrine of Christ the King
Cristo Re Belvedere viewpoint
Cristo Re Belvedere viewpoint - view of Mariner of the Seas

Cristo Re Belvedere viewpoint

Below the memorial is the Cristo Re Belvedere. From the height we enjoy the unrestricted and wonderful view of the city and the sea. Below the building, on the street, is the Panorama bar in the garden where we can strengthen ourselves and relax from the path.

Back to the cruise ship

We walk down steep streets to the water. We pass the spacious Piazza Unione Europea and stand in front of the Palazzo Zanca, Messina's imposing town hall.

Palazzo Zanca - Messina's town hall

Palazzo Zanca - Messina's town hall


We could make a detour to the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele II. The classicist building is also on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. We do without and instead take a look at the Palazzo Littorio. The building was erected during fascism in 1940. Travertine and marble give the building a modern look. Unfortunately, a large allegorical marble sculpture by a regional artist that is well worth seeing is not revealed to us.

Wall frieze of the Palazzo Littorio

Wall frieze of the Palazzo Littorio


A few minutes later we are standing at the entrance to the cruise terminal and boarding our ship. A varied day in Messina is coming to an end. Ciao Messina.

Update April 2021

Publish modules to the "offcanvas" position.