Overview of Messina,
Messina is a large, noisy
and congested port city and while it has some
interesting historical spots, the real reason to come to
Messina is to visit Taormina and / or Mt. Etna.
Port Location and Information:
cruise port in Messina is located right in the heart of
downtown. It is easy to walk off the ship and into the
Pazza del Duomo. This is the heart beat of touring
Exploring on Your Own:
Piazza del Duomo,
While Messina is easy to
explore on your own, there really isn't a heck of a lot
to see. This is one of those ports where you are better
off taking the ship's shore excursion and they are quite
likely to offer a Taormina and Mt Etna combination and
this is the one that I would recommend. If you do not
want to take a shore excursion, find a tour guide well
in advance of arrival and book it with them.
is local bus service to Taormina and also train service
and the main bus depot is located right outside of the
train station. But, unless you are in Messina until
later in the evening, there is not enough time to
comfortably make the trip and get back into Messina to
catch your ship. I have tried on two separate occasions
unsuccessfully. Also, the bus is the local run and will
take hours to get to Taormina, as it stops in every
little community between Messina and Taormina. Worse,
there is limitedbus service and the bus can only hold so
many people. You may be able to get there, but getting
back may be another story altogether. Bite the bullet on
this one and take the ship's shore excursion. You will
be glad that you did and you have to know how hard that
is for me to say.
you plan to stay in Messina for the day, here is what I
suggest. Go directly to the square where Piazza del
Duomo is located and sign up for the HoHo bus. This
double decker bus will make two different routes and
will cover the entire city. It takes about 3-hours to do
both routes. If you see something that you would like to
go back to then you can do so, but I suspect that you
will have satisfied yourself during the tour and will be
ready to find someplace to have a wonderful lunch
Shopping in Messina
Messina has little in the
way of shopping that would interest tourists. The stores
are there primarily to serve the needs of the local and
surrounding population and tend to be popular priced
items of clothing and such.
The City of Messina
is much better shopping opportunities in other Italian
ports with more robust tourist facilities.
Piazza del Duomo Tower
has several churches, monuments and fountains that date
back centuries that are worthy of exploration.
Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is well worth your attention, as it
sites on the main square in Messina and offers an
awesome visit to its interior.
Lighting Candles Remembering Those That are no Longer
Piazza del Duomo is one thing about Messina that you
One of Messina's Many
is no shortage of churches, fountains and other
monuments, as one quickly finds out walking round
Messina's core city.
Statues Are Everywhere
sees statues everywhere.
Fine Art Adorns All of
myriad of churches, monuments and buildings adorned with
fine art is staggering.
Another Monument to
are very gregarious in Messina and that is where its
charm lies. Do the HoHo bus and then find Lila and Lilo
for an afternoon you won't soon forget.
Taormina: This is the main attraction when
visiting Messina. Taormina is a medieval village perched
alongside the steep terrain jutting out of the ocean.
While it has kept its Medieval character, it is now a
shopper's paradise. The main pedestrian shopping street
is loaded with shops, boutiques and specialty stores
selling everything under the sun. Near the top of
Taormina Village is a wonderfully preserved Roman
Theater. This pretty much sums up Taormina's charm.
There is something for everyone. Great shopping,
wonderful restaurants, Roman Ruins, Medieval pedestrian
streets and even stairs to a great beach. What more
could anyone want? Plus it is all connected by one
simple street and stairway.
Etna: Mt. Etna is an active volcano. How active? It
has erupted almost every year for the past ten years
making it the most active volcano in Europe. A tour of
Mt. Etna is an interesting look at how current#volcanic
action affects today's European culture.
Catania: Catania is the other port that serves
Taormina. Between the two ports, Messina wins
hands-down. If you are porting in Catania, either take a
ship's shore excursion or arrange for a private tour in
advance of arrival, or stay on the ship. That said, I
was able to negotiate with a taxi driver for a our to
Taormina and felt that it was worth it, however, why put
yourself in the position of risk?
and Drinking Suggestions:
Look For This
not sure how we found this place, but I would go back
here in a heartbeat. In fact, I would go to Messina just
to enjoy an afternoon here. It is down in the shopping
area of Messina on one of the main shopping streets. It
doesn't look like much from the outside, but it served
some of the best food I have ever enjoyed.
restaurant is operated by a mother/son team that are
hilarious. Lilo (pictured above) was the bar tender and
Lila (the mother) was the waitress. We started off by
ordering a bottle of wine and that is when the food
started coming. We were having a great time. Lila would
yell something at the chef in Italian and then more food
would come out. Lilo let one of our gasses go empty and
Lila would slap him on the back of his head and yell at
him to get more wine in the glass. I am sure that you
have heard the saying "when your dining with us, your
family" I could dine with Lila and Lilo every night.
really can't think of anything in the port of Messina
that is a "must do". Even Taormina is anti-climatic
compared to other ports in Italy. Sorry to be so direct,
but this is what you need to know.
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