When the Greeks settled in this scenic land, they called it Zancle, which means sickle, for the shape of its natural harbour. Its current name comes from Messenia, the Greek town from which the colonists who inhabit it later came.
Many other populations lived there over the centuries, leaving signs of their passage into language and culture.
1 – The Duomo and its surroundings
At the top of our ten-things list there is, of course, the Cathedral with its three late-Gothic portals and its great mosaic of Christ Pantocrator over the apse. The best way to start our tour is to take a walk in the historic area around the Duomo, and let us inebriate by the scent of the sea while admiring the passage of typical horseback carriages, an expression of the Belle Epoque of Messina.
Once in the Church we can admire an impressive polyphonic organ, one of the largest in Europe, still perfectly functioning. Not to be missed is also the Treasury of the Cathedral containing sacred vestments by the famous goldsmith school of Messina and a collection of items dating back to the Middle Ages. Messina had many silver mines, from which the Spanish government got the raw material to mint its own coins.
Messina’s Cathedral has the largest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock of the world. At noon let’s move to the square and raise our eyes to the golden bronze statues carousel, placed on the Bell Tower.