Messina Port

Mediterranean Cruise

Messina is an unfortunate city on the northwest corner of Sicily. Actually, unfortunate doesn’t begin to describe Messina’s miserable luck. The invading Carthaginians destroyed the city over two thousand years ago. The city was rebuilt, and became a powerful port for Crusaders to stop in on their way to the Holy Land. Richard the Lion-Hearted himself stopped in here to gather his courage. But the good times stopped abruptly. In the 18th Century, a ship stopped in Messina carrying the black plague, ravaging the entire town. Devastating earthquakes leveled the town in 1894 and 1908, the second one destroying practically everything in sight. Two-thirds of Messina’s population of 120,000 died from the 1908 quake. As a result, Messina’s architecture stands apart from the rest of Italy’s. Every building is short so that it won’t topple if another earthquake hits.

Today, Messina struggles because it lacks that connection to the past that draws visitors to other Italian cities. The town tries to be tourist-friendly. In fact, the tourism office here is one of the best in all of Italy. However, smiling faces can only do so much, as most people who visit Sicily spend their time in Palermo or Taormina, using Messina only as a place to change trains and get a quick bite to eat





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