a guide to messina, sicily
Though Messina has plenty of charm to keep any visitor busy while your cruise ship is in port, it can also be the perfect stepping stone to many of Sicily’s most popular attractions thanks to MSC Cruises’ varied organised excursions.
In just an hour and a half, you can make it from the port of Messina to the foothills of the active volcano, Etna.
Etna is Europe’s highest volcano and is most certainly deserving of a visit! Your transport will take you up as far as possible, then the rest must be tackled on foot, though this is all part of the fun! You’ll make your way up the mountainside, through recent lava flows and to the craters 3,300m above sea level.
Views to the coastal town of Catania are breath-taking, as are those over the Valle del Bove to the east.
You’ll be back on board in time to soothe any aching muscles in the hot tub before dinner!
In less than an hour, an excursion could take you to the small seaside town of Taormina. This chic resort is a tourist hot-spot, and it won’t take you long to see why!
A stroll along the Corso Umberto I from Palazzo Corvaja all the way to Piazza IX Aprile with its stunning panoramic views and the beautiful San Giuseppe church. Keep going further and you’ll arrive in the oldest part of town, the Borgo Medievale and to the town’s stunning cathedral, the Duomo.
DON’T MISS: the Teatro Greco and its stunning views to the smoking Mount Etna!
Those familiar with the famous Sicilian cities of Catania and Palermo will get a different vibe from Messina. Having suffered a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 1908, the city was rebuilt and features wide tree-shaded boulevards and has a much more modern feel to its buildings and layout.
One of Messina’s must-sees is the Normal Cathedral, the Duomo. Despite having been destroyed numerous times in its history, efforts to rebuild always remained true to the original structure and it is one of the most impressive on the whole island.
Messina wouldn’t call itself Sicily unless there was plenty of delicious things to eat around town. Try a granita and brioche, cannoli and of course plenty of Messina’s famous fried street food rustici!
Messina will be one of the stops on MSC Magnifica’s 10-night cruise starting on October 19th from Genova. She’ll also be stopping in Livorno, Messina, Valletta, Piraeus, Katakolon, and Civitavecchia.