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How to Spend 1 Day in Messina

How to Spend 1 Day in Messina

The port city of Messina stretches along the northeast Ionian coast, the closest point on Sicily to mainland Italy. Though two 20th-century catastrophes—a 1908 earthquake and World War II bombings—devastated many of the city’s historic monuments, it is home to striking churches and elegant boulevards. Here’s how to take in the city in one day.

Morning: City Highlights

Messina may not have the Greek and Roman ruins that many other Sicilian cities do, but its historic center is home to a number of later architectural jewels, including the 12th-century Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani, as well as the reconstructed Norman cathedral, its spectacular bell tower and astronomical clock, and the nearby Fountain of Orion (Fontana di Orione). Learn about the city’s history and architecture with a guided morning walking or Segway tour that touches on these treasures, along with the later Church of San Camillo and Temple of Christ the King (Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re). 

Afternoon: Artistic Masterpieces

Messina, like most Sicilian cities, can be oppressively hot in the afternoon, so take cover by visiting the city’s fine Regional Museum (Museo Regionale), which includes masterpieces from the Messina school and other Renaissance and baroque artists. Be sure to admire theSan Gregorio (Saint Gregory) polyptych by local 15th-century painter Antonello da Messina, as well as hisMadonna con bambino e santi (Virgin with Child and Saints). Other highlights include two dazzling works by Caravaggio:L'Adorazione dei pastori (Adoration of the Shepherds) andRisurrezione di Lazzaro (Resurrection of Lazarus).

Night: Food on the Streets and in the Kitchen

This evening, turn to Messina’s cuisine. Join a food tour to explore the city’s street-food tradition, stopping to taste Sicilian delicacies while you stroll through the old town with a guide. Alternatively, delve deep into the local cuisine with an informal cooking class led by a home cook to learn the secrets behind the city’s traditional dishes and enjoy the fruits of your labors paired with Sicilian wines at a family-style dinner. End your day with a turn down the city’s seafront promenade, stopping to admire the towering golden statue of the Madonna and the Neptune fountain. 

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6 Tours and Activities | All Messina Tours

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2-Hour Messina Walking Tour

2-Hour Messina Walking Tour

star-4.5
Explore the historic city of Messina on a walking tour with a local guide that’s a great overview and orientation for first-time visitors. Learn about Sicily’s Arab-Norman heritage as you make your way from Cathedral Square to a series of churches, landmarks, and artwork, and hear stories from Messina’s fascinating past. Multiple departures are available throughout the day.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.99
From
$30.99
Taking safety measures

Messina City and Coast Tour

Messina City and Coast Tour

star-4.5
Discover northeast Sicily on a 6-hour tour of Messina and the Ionian coast. Hear informative commentary about the region from your guide and take in attractions such as Santuario della Madonna di Montalto, the Church of the Annunziata dei Catalani, and the Cape of Peloro.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$68.16
From
$68.16
Taking safety measures

Messina Segway Tour

Messina Segway Tour

star-4.5
Explore Messina’s top attractions on a 3-hour Segway tour. Led by a local guide, glide along the city's boulevards, passing the Messina Duomo, the Church of Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani and more. As you travel through each vibrant city square, learn how the area changed in the aftermath of the 1908 earthquake. After three hours of history, culture and sightseeing, your tour will conclude at its original departure point.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$119.61
Price varies by group size
From
$119.61
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private cooking class at a Cesarina's home with tasting in Messina

Private cooking class at a Cesarina's home with tasting in Messina

star-5
Learn the secrets of Sicilian cuisine—and cook with a Messina local in their own home—when you sign up for this immersive, private cooking class. Pick between morning and afternoon class times to best suit your schedule. You’ll be cooking alongside a Cesarina; a local ambassador of Italian cuisine that has been carefully vetted and is part of a national network. Enjoy an authentic experience, prepare several gourmet dishes, and sit down to enjoy your meal (with local wine on the side).
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$175.18
From
$175.18

Messina: private walking tour with a local guide

Messina: private walking tour with a local guide

Explore Sicily's finest cathedrals, fountains, monuments, and more with a private walking tour of Messina. With this tour, you’ll discover the fascinating history of the city of Messina, which was almost completely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1908 and mass bombings during World War II. You’ll visit top sights such as the Fountain of Orion and Messina Cathedral, and get insider tips on the best way to spend the rest of your trip.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$326.20
per group
From
$326.20
per group
Taking safety measures

Messina Food Experience

Messina Food Experience

Food holds a high place in traditional Sicilian society, but knowing where to find the freshest flavors takes local knowledge. On this foodie’s walking tour, leave the map behind and follow your guide through coastal Messina. Explore bustling markets and hidden back streets, and sample some of the speciality treats Sicilians love. Along the way, learn of the role food plays in Sicily’s cultural heritage.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
From
$108.73
Price varies by group size
From
$108.73
Price varies by group size