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Messina, Sicily Port Reviews
Messina, Sicily On Your Own Shore Excursion
By Tom Ogg


Overview:

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore excursion Overview
Overview of Messina, Sicily, Italy

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.

Cruise Port Location and Information:

The 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 Messina.

Exploring on Your Own:

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore Excursion Piazzia del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo, Messina

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.

There 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.

Now, if 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 instead.

Shopping Tips:

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore Excursion Shopping Street
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.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore Excursion Street
The City of Messina

There is much better shopping opportunities in other Italian ports with more robust tourist facilities.

Port Highlights:

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore Excursion Piazzia del Duomo Tower
Piazza del Duomo Tower

Messina has several churches, monuments and fountains that date back centuries that are worthy of exploration.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore Excursion Piazzia del Duomo Interior
Piazza del Duomo Interior

The 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.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Piazzia del Duomo Lighting Candles.
Lighting Candles Remembering Those That are no Longer With Us

The Piazza del Duomo is one thing about Messina that you will remeber.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Fountain
One of Messina's Many Fountains

There is no shortage of churches, fountains and other monuments, as one quickly finds out walking round Messina's core city.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Statue
Statues Are Everywhere

One sees statues everywhere.

Messina, Sicily, Italy sculpture
Fine Art Adorns All of the Churches

The myriad of churches, monuments and buildings adorned with fine art is staggering.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Monument
Another Monument to Something

People 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.

Off the Beaten Path:

Messina, Sicily, Italy Shore Excursion
Taormina's Roman Theater

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.

Mt. 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?

Dining and Drinking Suggestions:

Messina, Sicily, Italy Lux Ogg Restaurant
Look For This Restaurant

I am 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.

Messina, Sicily, Italy Lux Oggi Restaurant Lilo
Lilo

The 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.

Must Do List:

I 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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