Messina Travel guide - Sicily, Italy

The home of unsurpassed Aeolian, the sea, the beaches, the volcano and the perched hovels overlooking the streets.
Here you can find fish and the beautiful Taormina. History and culture of southern mingle with crystal clear waters in a mix of Mediterranean tastes and flavors.
Breathtaking views and the Strait of Messina, photo by Alexander Grussu via Flickr
Breathtaking views and the Strait of Messina, photo by Alexander Grussu via Flickr

1. Best things to do in Messina

Definitely you have to head over to Piazza Duomo and check it. The campanile holds the largest astronomical clock in the world and it is full of animated mechanical statues that put on quite the show at noon. Worth seeing.


Right around the corner from the Piazza there is a little “pasticceria” that has some of the best canolis.

You can also head up to Mt. Etna; it's not too far away. There's also some wineries up there, try them.

Arriving by boat you can already see the beautiful Madonna in the port. In the main square you will find two of the four monumental fountains that defined the boundaries of the crossroads in the direction of the beautiful Cathedral.

The vantage points where you can see the Italian peninsula are a lot and while looking try to discover the ancient fishing swordfish. Keep your eyes on the boat, really unique pieces.

Silvestri Craters, Etna, Sicily. Photo by Malega via Flickr
Silvestri Craters, Etna, Sicily. Photo by Malega via Flickr

2. Etna and surroundings

The beautiful Mount Etna and the charming hilltop town of Taormina are the main steps for those who want to move to the surroundings. The Etna Natural Park reveals the Silvestri Craters and you can climb to the top of Monte to see the lava flows and observe an incredible view from the volcano.

Taormina is a beautiful town with a perfectly preserved Roman-greek theater... it is one of the most ancient ruin across Italy.

Enjoy the Aeolian Islands: UNESCO has recognized as a world heritage site, not just for natural beauty, but also for the care and attention with which the islanders have taken care of the environment, protecting it from invasive man’s actions.

The features of the Aeolian contain all the characteristics of an earth moved by volcanoes, from the sea and wind, carved and painted. Unique in its form and smells, unique in its tastes and sounds.

The Aeolian Islands are seven: Lipari, Vulcano, Panarea, Salina, Alicudi, Filicudi, Stromboli; five smaller islands: Basiluzzo, Dattilo, Lisca Nera, Bottaro and Lisca Bianca.

The vegetation is typically Mediterranean with patches of olive trees and vineyards and a large number of birds.

Vulcano is the island nearest to the coast. Its history consists in sudden eruptions that forced its inhabitants to be evacuated. Today volcanic activity is insignificant and consists of fumaroles, easily visible in different parts of the island, making the landscape fascinating... not to be missed.

Panarea is the smallest island of the archipelago, the environment and the diverse fauna, Stromboli is the only one where volcanic activity is active and eruptions are repeated on average every 15/20 min. A Filicudi recent studies have dated the lava in the center of Zucco Grande in more than 1 million years old, making it the oldest place of the archipelago.

Cannoli Siciliani, a typical dessert of Messinian pastry, photo by Luigi Strano via Flickr
Cannoli Siciliani, a typical dessert of Messinian pastry, photo by Luigi Strano via Flickr

3. Tastes and local foods

One of the ancient traditions of Messina is fishing for swordfish that underlies the cuisine of Messina. The recipe tastier is undoubtedly that of the swordfish "in gghiotta" with onions, capers, celery and tomato sauce, also great on the grill with oil dressing, parsley, garlic and lemon.

The typical Sicilian tradition permeates Messina, you can find excellent cannoli with ricotta and pasta "ncasciata", with meat, salami, cheese and eggplant.

Excellent vegetable soups and wild fennel seasoned raw: do not miss a stop in "Casa Savoia" restaurant very typical and surprising.

Portella Gazzana - Parco dei Nebrodi, the Sicilian national park. Photo by kyle anthony via Flickr
Portella Gazzana - Parco dei Nebrodi, the Sicilian national park. Photo by kyle anthony via Flickr

4. Nature, sport and green itineraries

One of the most beautiful parks in the province is Nebrodi Park, the largest natural park in the region. Divided into four zones A, B, C, D with different restrictions and prohibitions to preserve the natural beauty of the park. The landscape is asymmetrical and shaped in a unique way. The experts could bring up to the highest peak, that of Monte Soro (1847 m).

Various places to visit: Serra Melo, Lake Scream Quattrocchi, Lake Zillo, S. Croce di Santo Stefano, Mill of the City of Caronio, Source Nocita, Villa Miraglia, Lake Maulazzo, Source Acquafridda.

View from the Eco house Etna in Mascali (CT) - Sicily
View from the Eco house Etna in Mascali (CT) - Sicily

5. Where to stay in the city and surrounding

Discover all ecofriendly accommodations in the province of Messina: fulfill the dream of sleeping in an Eco House at the foot of Etna, or lazing by the rustle of the crystalline seas lapping the Aeolian Islands, under the roofs of photovoltaic B&B of Messina.

Discover all eco-friendly accommodations in Messina

Author: Angela Sebastianelli

Cover photo: The hangman house in Messina, photo by Marco Crupivia Flickr

Eco-friendly accommodations

I boschi del Castagno

Limana (Veneto)

Starting from 60,00 €
Due Sicilie Maison de Charme

Casalvecchio Siculo (Sicilia)

Starting from 86,00 €
Azienda Agricola Villarè

Messina (Sicilia)

Starting from 120,00 €
B&B Ajanca

Reggio Calabria (Calabria)

Starting from 50,00 €
BagolArea EcoFarm sull'Etna

Mascali (Sicilia)

Starting from 70,00 €
Casa Arrigo

Linguaglossa (Sicilia)

Starting from 80,00 €
Casale Romano

Motta Camastra (Sicilia)

Starting from 59,00 €
Casa di Paglia Felcerossa sull'Etna

Sant'Alfio (Sicilia)

Starting from 50,00 €
Tra Etna e Taormina

Calatabiano (Sicilia)

Starting from 120,00 €
EcoRuralSuite dell'ETNA

Castiglione di Sicilia (Sicilia)

Starting from 65,00 €
Al n°zero, nella campagna vulcanica

Lipari (Sicily)

Starting from 45,00 €
Agriturismo Casa Gioffrè

Cosoleto (Calabria)

Starting from 50,00 €
Casa delle Monache

Graniti (Sicilia)

Starting from 65,00 €
Riorosa Casa e Orto

Bova Marina (Calabria)

Starting from 55,00 €
Cottage Atollo Monte Rosa Lipari

Lipari (Sicilia)

Starting from 100,00 €