Welcome to Messina
Just a few kilometres from the Italian mainland, Messina sits on a curved harbour at the northernmost point of Sicily's Ionian Coast. For centuries it has been a major transport hub and today it's an important gateway to and from the island.First impressions aren't especially flattering. But look beyond the traffic, graffiti and vacant storefronts and you'll find a city of wide boulevards and elegant... Read More
Top experiences in Messina
Aeolian Islands Day Trip: Stromboli and Panarea
Leave central Taormina by air-conditioned coach and relax on the 1-hour journey north to the Port of Milazzo, just west of Messina. Hop aboard a motorboat and speed through the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea to Panarea in the Aeolian Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Small yet stunning, the island of Panarea is a picture-perfect delight boasting a tiny whitewashed village surrounded by pristine beaches. Enjoy some free time to explore, perhaps shopping in the village’s quaint stores or relaxing on the beaches. You can also use the time to enjoy lunch at a local cafe; ask your host for tips!Return to the port at the pre-arranged time and cruise across the water to Stromboli, an island named after its active volcano. Spend time at leisure in Stromboli village, admiring its black lava-sand beach and pretty houses decked with vibrant flowers. After watching the sun set over the steaming volcano, head back to port and enjoy a light dinner on board your boat.Then, it’s time for your evening’s highlight: a boat ride around the island to see Stromboli’s volcanic activity. Cruise until you reach a clear spot for viewing Sciara del Fuoco, where the most dramatic lava eruptions take place. Small eruptions and detonations occur frequently (usually around every half hour), so have your camera ready to capture bright explosions of liquid lava and rocks propelled into the air, against the backdrop of the night sky. After watching one of Sicily’s best natural fireworks displays, cruise back to the Port of Milazzo, and then return to central Taormina by coach.
Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina
Leave central Taormina by air-conditioned coach and relax on the 1-hour journey north to the Port of Milazzo, just west of Messina. Swap your mode of transport for a motorboat and speed through the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Your destination is Lipari, the largest island in the stunning Aeolian Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Before docking at Lipari port, hear about pumice production on the island from your host. Most of the Aeolian Islands are volcanic and covered in the pumice stone of ancient eruptions.Step onto dry land and enjoy some free time to sightsee at leisure. Stretch your legs on a stroll around Lipari’s sleepily idyllic Old Town, or perhaps visit Lipari Archeological Museum (own expense). The exhibition space documents life in the Aeolian Islands from prehistoric to classical, and contains interesting displays about the local volcanoes and marine wildlife, too.Enjoy lunch (own expense), and then meet your host to travel by motorboat to the nearby island of Vulcano. Diverting attention away from its smouldering volcanoes – there are three on the island – Vulcano’s star attractions are its mud baths. Perhaps use your time on the island to relax at one of the mud baths, or take a dip in the warm seas and simply bask on the beach.On the way back to Sicily by motorboat, cruise around the island’s coastline, seeing the interesting Grotta del Cavallo (horse cave) and faraglioni rocks jutting out of the turquoise sea. Hop back on board your coach at the Port of Milazzo, and then travel south to Taormina, finishing back at the start point.
'The Godfather' Movie Tour from Taormina
The Sicilian town of Corleone was the birthplace of many members of the characters from The Godfather, but Corleone was too developed in the early 1970s to be used for filming. So director Francis Ford Coppola opted for the traditional towns of Savoca and Forzà d'Agrò, just outside of Taormina. Start with a pickup from select hotels in Taormina or in Messina province for your 4-hour Godfather tour, during which you’ll see first-hand where scenes from some of the greatest films of all time were shot.Settle into your comfortable coach and travel along the Sicilian coast to Savoca. Hop out to walk the streets of tiny, tucked-away town in the hills. Here you'll visit Church of Santa Maria Degli Angeli and enter the spooky underground crypt in the Convent of the Frati Minori Cappuccini. Get your picture taken at Bar Vitelli, the iconic bar where Michael Corleone asked Apollonia's father to meet his daughter. Make the most of 30 minutes of free time in the village to explore independently or perhaps relax with a coffee (own expense) before heading to your next stop: Forzà d'Agrò.The stone-paved pedestrian lanes and traditional buildings of this medieval hilltop town made for the perfect backdrop for the Godfather films. Here, visit the church that appears in several scenes in The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, followed by some free time to explore on your own.Reboard the coach and head back to your Taormina or Messina province hotel in the early evening.
Taormina and Castelmola Tour from Messina
The first step is the visit of Castelmola, a picturesque village just above Taormina. Here you can enjoy a beautiful landscape, with a wonderful overlook of the Mount Etna (more than 3,330 mt, the highest volcano in Europe), and the magnificent bay of Giardini - Naxos.We will then get to Taormina and to Porta Messina and we will have a walk along Corso Umberto (the ancient Roman street Valeria) visiting (with a tourist guide or on your own) the Greek-roman theater, the oldest churches and monuments, the most exclusive shops, famous restaurants, pastries and ice cream shops to taste typical Sicilian specialty and sweets. You will be enchanted by Taormina, the charming pearl of the Mediterranean which is always able to seduce even the most inattentive visitor. For those who leave from Messina at the end of the tour there will be a short visit of the historic centre of the city: the square of the cathedral with the biggest astronomical clock in the world, the church of the Catalans which is an extraordinary example of Arab -Norman art and the panoramic terrace between the Shrine of Christ the King and the Sanctuary of Montalto where you can admire the Strait of Messina.
2-Hour Messina Walking Tour
Embark on a 2-hour walking tour to visit one of the most ancient city of Sicily with stunning buildings and wonderful landscapes. Starting from the Cathedral Square, admire the bell tower with the biggest astronomic clock in the world, a complex mechanism realized by the Ungerer brothers from Strasburg. Continue inside the Cathedral, the second largest in Sicily, damaged during the earthquake in 1908 and rebuilt for the last time after the bombings of the Second World War. Don't miss the beautiful mosaics in Byzantine style dating back to the 14th century. The Catalani’s Church is an example of normann-arab style and also the oldest church of Messina compared to the Gallery Vittorio Emanuele, which was built after the earthquake of 1908, which has more of an ecletic style. The Mountain of mercy is a testimony of mannerism architecture, the Church of San Francis of Assisi-one is one of the oldest churches of Messina, built in 1254 and of course the Palace Zanca, the town hall where you can visit the Antiquarimum and the archaeological excavation. Visit more sites such as the Palace of Culture “Antonello da Messina”, where you will find a modern art gallery, the Church of Montalto dedicated to the “Madonna delle Vittorie” built after the war of the Sicilian Vespers and the Sanctuary of Christ the King where in the same place the first castle was built called Roccaguelfonia, in the honor of Richard Lion Heart. Lastly check out the Theatre Vittorio Emanuele and inside you can admire the spectacular fresco of one of the most well known legends in Messina.
'Inspector Montalbano' Filming Locations Tour from Taormina
Leave your Taormina or Messina province hotel in the early morning, and relax on your coach ride south to the authentic Sicilian town of Ragusa, the first stop on your Inspector Montalbano tour.Here you’ll visit Piazza Duomo, home to the Basilica of St George, a site that represents the main square of the show’s fictional town of Vigata. Continue to Church of San Giuseppe, Palazzo Donnafugata and Circolo di Conversazione, where the episodes ‘Gli Arancini di Montalbano’ and ‘The Scent of the Night’ were filmed.After some free time to explore on your own, depart for the seaside town of Punta Secca, dubbed ‘Marinella’ in the show. Visit Montalbano Commissioner's House and the sandy beaches where the main character likes to swim. Have time for lunch (own expense) and go for a dip in the Mediterranean if you wish. Just remember to bring your bathing suit!Continue onward to the small village of Scicli and enjoy a short walk through its lovely Baroque historical center, named ‘Montelusa’ in the show. Visit Scicli Municipal Town Hall in Palazzo Municipio, and hear how the building was the set location for the Police Commissioner’s office and the Vigata police station. Here you can purchase a ticket to the mayor's real-life office (Stanza del Sindaco), used in the series as Montalbano’s office.At the end of the day, relax on the drive back to your Taormina or Messina province hotel.