10 Best Things To Do In Messina, Italy - Updated 2024

things to do in messina italy
Contributing Writer
| 5 min read

Historical Messina is a city in Italy and is the third largest city in Sicily. This beautiful city is full of art works in its churches and old palaces which carries the remembrance of its great ancient civilizations. Messina’s economy is dependent on its seaports, cruise ship tourism, wine production and cultivation of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and olives. Let’s explore the best things to do during your trip.

1. Visit the largest bell tower and astronomical clock in the world!

Bell tower of the Church
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mstyslav Chernov used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Bell Tower and Astronomical Clock in the Cathedral of Messina are the main attractions, the clock being the largest and most beautiful astronomical clock in the world. The complex mechanical design of this clock reveals its beauty at night which you will see in the most unique church display anywhere in the cathedral. The Clock Tower can be visited inside. Along the staircase, you can admire the bronze statues and the complex and ingenious system of leverages and gears that generate the movement of the clock. This place attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The Bell Tower and Astronomical Clock

Website: The Bell Tower and Astronomical Clock

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2. Visit the Camposanto

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Camposanto is also known as ‘Holy field’ because it has been rumored to have been built around sacred soil brought from Golgotha. It was built in the year 1278; a monumental cemetery in Pisa and is full of ancient tombs, frescoes, modern busts and morsels of sculpture of all ages and descriptions. It is a long rectangular stretch of well-tended grass surrounded by Gothic marble cloisters and topped with a dome at one end. The Camposanto is a unique and elegant space.

The exterior marble walls facing the cathedral are solid and unadorned save for some simple blind arcading. The inner walls overlooking the long courtyard are made of delicate traceried windows, which were never filled with glass.


Website: Camposanto

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3. Explore the marvelous Torre di Faro

Torre Faro
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Giuseppe ME used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Torre di Faro is a lovely city located in the northeastern top of Sicily, it is surrounded with splendid rural landscapes and beaches in the areas which you can explore. The name of the village comes from the presence of an important lighthouse, attested as a building in Roman times and preceded by centuries of lighting, which served to help sailors cross the Strait of Messina. Torre di Faro boasts several fun spots, including the Piazza Delle Aquile, the Castroreale Civic Museum and Tower of Federico II.

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4. See the amazing Madonnina

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mstyslav Chernov used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Madonnina is the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the Milan Cathedral in Italy. It was erected in the year 1762 at a height of 108.5 m (356 ft). The spire was designed by the famous Francesco Croce and at the top of the spire lies the Madonnina statue which was designed and built by Giuseppe Perego in the year 1774. It is the tallest structure in the whole of the city.

Madonnina is the patroness of the people of this place. The huge statue is made of embossed gilded copper plates and is supported by a framework which is in stainless steel.


Website: Madonnina

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5. Tour the Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo Messina
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Superchilum used under CC BY-SA 3.0

You simply cannot miss Messina’s Piazza Duomo because of it’s world famous fountain, bell tower and Norman Cathedral. The Fountain of Orion was created by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, a disciple of Michaelangelo in 1500. The fountain represents the four rivers, Nile, the Tiber, Ebro and Canaro. It’s upper cistern has lines of latin verses and is also crowned with Orion, the mythical founder of Messina. The Duomo was sadly destroyed by an earthquake in 1908 but its reconstruction was done in 1919, it’s statues, grand mosaics and marble are all copies as the originals were sadly destroyed.

Piazza Duomo

Website: Piazza del Duomo

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6. Messina Regional Museum

Messina Regional Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user sailko used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Messina Regional Museum was established in 1914 in what used to be a former silk weaving mill situated along the Messina seacoast road to the lighthouse. It hosts the collections of Civico Museo Peloritano and many art works which were rescued from the ancient palaces and churches which were destroyed in the 1908 earthquake and the Second World War. It has important works by the famous artist Antonello da Messina and Caravaggio.

The museum has different sections like archaeology, medieval art, Renaissance and later art, the gold-smithery and crafts which are exhibited in 14 rooms of the courtyard, which offers a historical view into the life of the town.

Messina Regional Museum

Address: Viale della Libertà, 465, 98121 Messina, Italy

Website: Messina Regional Museum

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7. Go on 'The Godfather' movie tour from Messina (from USD 108.0)

Go on a six hour tour of The Godfather movie, which starts from Messina and goes though Taormina and the village of Savoca, which featured in scenes of the iconic film. You will visit the filming locations of Savoca including the Bar Vitelli and the Trimarchi Palace. When in Taormina, you will see the sights along Corso Umberto, see the ancient Teatro Greco and the Isola Bella which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will also see the Cathedral Square.

You can walk through the narrow picturesque streets on the way and also go by the Church of Catalans which is an example of the Arab-Norman art. You will also visit the panoramic terrace between Shrine of Christ the King and Sanctuary of Montalto.

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The Godfather and Taormina Tour from Messina

Duration: 6 hours

85 reviews

8. See the ancient amazing Messina Cathedral

Duomo di Messina
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Al Ianni used under CC BY 2.0

This historical cathedral dates back to the 12th-century, but has been restored between 1919-1920 as the earthquake of 1908 caused serious damage to it. Again during the Second World War when the Allied forces dropped bombs on Messina, a huge fire destroyed the cathedral and it was rebuilt in 1943.

The cathedral still maintains its original Norman structure and the three portals of the façade which is built in the Gothic style. There is a sculpture of Jesus and the Evangelists which stands in the architrave, there are sculptures of animals and plants also. The tympanum which dates to the 15th-century has a nave and two aisles which has files of 28 columns standing there. This cathedral houses the remains of Conrad IV King of Germany and Sicily of the 13th-century and many of the archbishops. The chapel of Sacrament of the 16th-century has decorations and mosaics of the erstwhile 14th-century.

Messina Cathedral

Address: Piazza Duomo, Messina, Italy

Website: Messina Cathedral

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9. Fontana di Orione

Fontana di Orione
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user sailko used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Fontana di Orione was established in Messina in the 16th-century. The lower basin of Fontana di Orione rests on the base of three decagonal steps. It is interrupted by 4 symmetrical recesses, where there are 4 tubs with masks which receive water from the amphorae, where 4 nude statues sit. These statues represent the four rivers Nile, the Tiber, the Ebro and the Camaro.

Fontana di Orione

Address: Piazza Duomo, 98122 Messina, Italy

Website: Fontana di Orione

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10. See the Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re

Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Superchilum used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re or Votive Temple of Christ the King was built in 1900 on higher ground which is elevated from the street. The structure is crowned by an octagon shaped dome, reminiscent of the Sicilian Baroque style of architecture. There is also a shrine built as a memorial to Italian soldiers. It is a very popular place to visit among tourists visiting Messina.

Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re

Address: Sacrario Cristo Re, 98122 Messina, Italy

Website: Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re

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Astounding architectural gems of Messina

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user gnuckx used under CC BY 2.0

Messina is blessed with many architectural gems like Madonnina, Tempio Votivo di Cristo, Messina Cathedral, and The Godfather movie tour is also a very popular draw among tourists. Your itinerary has plenty of fillers in this beautiful Italian gem.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Michelle, formerly an investment banker, now revels in her role as a full-time mom with an unwavering passion for life. Her bags are perpetually packed, ready to embark on adventures and explore...Read more

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