Messina, what to see in the city and surroundings

Sara Lisciotto Aeolian Islands, Art and Museums, Capo Peloro, Castelmola, Castelmola, Etna, Food and Wine, Forza D'Agrò, History and Culture, Lipari, Messina, Montalbano Elicona, Panarea, Savoca, Savoca, Sea and Nature, Stretto di Messina, Stromboli, Taormina, Trekking, Vulcano Leave a Comment

Messina what to see? This is the question that comes to those who arrive in Sicily, not knowing that Messina is not only a passageway, but rather the perfect starting point if you want to explore the eastern part of the island. Known as the “Gateway of Sicily”, the city of Messina  stores inside far more than you expect, so if you are wondering about Messina what to do, then keep on reading.

Messina what to see: the city of the Strait and the lakes of Ganzirri and Faro

Messina stands near Capo Peloro, the northernmost point of Sicily, and for this reason it is the closest city to the mainland, only a little more than 3 km from here. To discover in Messina what to see you should know that the area of Cape Peloro overlooks the  gorgeous Strait of Messina, a wonderful natural scenario made of clear water, and surrounded by the fishermen villages of Ganzirri and Torre Faro. In Torre Faro, on La Punta Beach there is the huge Pylon, 233 meters high, which once was connected with its twin in the mainland for the passage of the electric line. In summer, La Punta Beach become the hangout for the youth: musical and themed events, festivals and parties are often held here. This is also the perfect point to observe the strong currents of the Strait, meeting just in the waters off the Pylon and forming whirls.

At least one of the city  tours Messina should include a visit in this area, for the naturalistic interest not only of the Strait of Messina, but also of the two salty lakes of Ganzirri and Faro. These two lagoons are connected with the sea and with each other by some canals, and beside having the perfect condition for mussels farming, it is also an important stopping point along the migratory routes, which is also the reason why in 2001 this area was declared  a nature reserve. So, two of the possible answers to the question “Messina what to see?”, are of course the Strait of Messina and the two lakes, the most important natural attractions to add when planning the city tours Messina. Also a Messina Bus Tour, in the company of local guides, could be the perfect solution to learn about the myths and the legends of this magic area.

Moving towards the city center, if you only have little time, in Messina what to do is of course watching the show of the bell tower in the Cathedral Square, with the biggest astronomical clock in the world. The bell tower every day at midday sets in motion the mechanism of its statues, charming visitors from all over the world. Among other sights of interest there are the museums of the city, such as the Regional Museum, with a huge artistic heritage, including paintings by Caravaggio and Antonello da Messina, the XX century Museum, made inside a former bunker of the 2th world war, the Museum of Ancient Weapons and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. Among the many available tours Messina, a Messina walking tour is the best option to the discover the beauties of the city, the most ancient churches, such as the Cathedral, the Catalans Church and the Church of Immaculate, the Vittorio Emanuele Theatre, with the beautiful fresco of Renato Guttuso, representing the legend of Colapesce, and so much more.

If you don’t have any idea about Messina what to do, for photography lovers, here it is a list of the best spots where to capture and take with you the amazing views of the city of the Strait from above: the top of the bell tower of the Cathedral, the belvedere of the Sacrarium of Christ the King and the Sanctuary of Montalto. If you have more time, another nice activity is to go for a walk on Peloritani Mounts, to the Sanctuary of Dinnammare, where to enjoy the majestic landscape of the Strait of Messina on one side, and the Aeolian Islands on the other.

Messina what to do: Tours Messina discovering the villages

If you are curious to find out in Messina what to see out of the city center, there are many villages, deserving a visit for their authenticity. Among the most known villages in the territory of Messina there is Castelmola, a few kilometers from Taormina. Here you can taste the delicious almond wine, visit the Mother Church and go for a walk up to the remains of the Castle, where you will be welcomed by the stunning view on the Ionian coast and on Mount Etna. Other places to include in the list “Messina what to see” are the villages of Savoca and Forza d’Agrò, made famous by F.F. Coppola, who chose them as film set of The Godfather movie: many tourists choose the Godfather Tour and come here to visit the Bar Vitelli, the Church of St. Lucy and the Municipal Museum. If you come to Messina, think about the Godfather Tour to visit the places of the movie, or a Taormina Godfather Tour, to have the possibility of exploring both Savoca and the beautiful Taormina

After having won the national competition of “The Most Beautiful Italian Villages”, Montalbano Elicona is making itself increasingly known: so, here it is another sight to be included in the list “Messina what to see”. Its majestic castle stands above the surrounding medieval village, made of ancient houses, recently turned into a multi-building hotel. In Montalbano one of the Messina excursions not to be missed is the one through the Highland of Argimusco. This place, characterized by incredible anthropomorphic rocks, the origins of which are uncertain even today, caught the attention of the UNESCO, which in 2018 held in Montalbano the Annual Meeting on heritage management, gathering a team of scientists from all over the world.

The journey in the territory of Messina continues with many other sights deserving a place in the list of “Messina what to see”. The most unknown spots and the smallest villages are often the ones which will prove to be full of surprises, but only to those with the curiosity to find out about them. The village of Novara di Sicilia, for example, still preserves the old watermills, elegant palaces, narrow streets topped by stone arches and many ancient churches containing remarkable artworks. We also mention the beautiful panoramic village of San Marco d’Alunzio on the Tyrrhenian coast, with the ruins of the Norman Castle, the Church of St. Mark, building on the remains of the ancient temple of Hercules, and about twenty more old churches.

Among the Messina excursions, also the village of Castiglione di Sicilia, near the Alcantara river, deserves a tour. Here, one can admire the beautiful XII century Lauria Castle, built on a sandstone cliff, the Basilica of Madonna della Catena (1655) and its baroque façade. In the open countryside, there is the Cuba of Santa Domenica, a wonderful example of the byzantine architecture in Sicily, built in the VII century.

Tours Messina: Messina excursions to Aeolian Islands

For those who prefer to relax and to fill up on sun and sea, a daily cruise to the Aeolian Island is another point about Messina what to see. If you are staying in Messina you can choose one of the tours Messina discovering the archipelago, with a daily cruise that will lead you towards two of the Seven Sisters in one day. Just enough time to find out some gorgeous views: the color of the bougainvillea through the streets of Panarea in contrast with the blue of the sea, the extraordinary eruptions of Stromboli, the wonderful white Pumice Quarry in Lipari and the Black Sand Beach of Vulcano.

If you have read this far, you have realized that to find out in Messina what to see, a single trip is not enough. We will be happy to help you planning your tours in Messina, and to let you enjoy also other Messina excursions, such as our Messina Etna Trekking  and Food & Wine Experiences.