Looking for things to do in Messina? The city offers so many places to visit that it might be difficult to choose, but for sure the panorama Messina offers is unique. This narrow strip of land is lapped by two seas, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian, and not far from it another strip of land stands across from us, it’s the rest of Italy. So among the things to do in Messina, being able to capture this magnificent view in all its glory is a must-do. And whether you’re a mountain or a beach lover, Messina offers many places to enjoy the view of its glorious Strait.
Things to do in Messina, a journey through beauty and legends
One of the many things to do in Messina, looking for a place to just sit and enjoy the view, maybe sipping a coffee or better yet, eating the typical brioche with granita, is an experience that is better than any museum or church will linger in your memory for years and years. The pure beauty of the panorama Messina offers has amazed artists and poets since ancient times.
1. Capo Peloro Sicily. Legends and myths have arisen throughout history, and in the Sicilian image of the Strait, monsters and fairies have always been the true protagonists. Among the things to do in Messina, trying to see how the legends and myths came to be is not difficult. The geological structure and atmospheric conditions have created so unique and incredible phenomena that have led people to believe they were related to supernatural powers.
The Scylla and Charybdis Legend was inspired by the turbulent waters of the two seas that come together in the Strait, whose whirlpools that crushed boats and killed people became jaws of monstrous creatures. This incredible phenomenon, that today is not as dangerous as before is visible from the extreme eastern point of the island, in capo Peloro Sicily.
When looking for things to do in Messina, enjoying the Panorama Messina presents in this place is not only incredible because of the beautiful natural scenery, with these two strips of land, far apart yet so near that they seem a touch away, but right here, an extremely rare phenomenon takes place, the Fata Morgana Mirage.
If while watching the sea, suddenly a boat starts floating in the air, don’t worry, you are not having a stroke, and no magic is involved. The atmospheric conditions create an optical illusion that fools us into seeing the opposite coast as if only a couple hundred meters away or the boats as if they are floating on air. And if you don’t believe us, next time you’re looking for things to do in Messina, make sure to come to see this with your own eyes.
Capo Peloro Sicily is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy the Panorama Messina offers, especially if you are a wine lover or just want to know more about Sicilian wines while still enjoying the beautiful view of the strait, taking the time to go on a wine tasting tour nearby Capo Peloro Sicily is really what you are looking for.
Panorama Messina: a look from above
If you’re not really the beach type and you’re still looking for things to do in Messina, a trip to Messina Mountains is what you want, a place to enjoy the panorama and a bit of fresh air, maybe to escape the scorching weather of the summer. Not more than half an hour by car from the city centre, Messina Mountains are able to surprise its visitors with the incredible view of the city and the whole Strait.
Stripes of blue and green stand before us creating one of the most beautiful sceneries on the island. Land and sea, sky and earth, all seem to come together in this spot, in the most unique panorama Messina can offer. But, this is Sicily and wherever you go there’s always something delicious to eat.
2. Messina Dinnammare. One of the many peaks of the Peloritani Mountains, Messina Dinnammare maybe offers the best view of Messina: the belvedere from one side overlooks the majestic Strait of Messina, and on the other side the Thyrrenian littoral with Milazzo Cape and the archipelago of the seven Aeolian Islands, where to admire enchanting sunsets.
Nearby Messina Dinnammare, a small place sells the characteristic “pani cunzato”, a traditional sandwich served with typical cheese, tomatoes and marinated vegetables. So if you’re looking for characteristic things to do in Messina, eating a piece of “pani cunzato” and enjoying the view from Messina Dinnammare, is absolutely one of the first choices, and something that any Messinian citizen at least once in a lifetime has experienced.
3. Umbertine Forts. Situated over Messina Mountains, a series of castles and fortresses watch over the city. The Umbertine Forts were built under the reign of Umberto I of Savoy at the end of the 19th century to protect the city from foreign attacks. Ogliastri and Saint Jachiddu Forts are only two of them and unfortunately, not many others survived until today. Among the most interesting things to do in Messina, for sure a visit to these forts is a must-do.
The new technologies and military engineering used in the Umbertine construction allowed Sicily to defend itself from strong attacks. Efficient rifles and powerful cannons, together with deep moats, thick walls and the more than convenient position, made protecting the city and defeating the opponents very easy.
These castles today, of course, only remnants of the past, a nice way of going back in time, but their position, still, is what makes them so interesting today, the Panorama Messina castles offer is breathtaking and being able to enjoy the Strait, and the city that is named after it from so many perspectives is a chance you shouldn’t miss.
If you’re still not convinced, or you simply don’t want to go too far away from the city centre to enjoy the Panorama Messina offers, there’s yet another spot you can visit.
4 & 5. Montalto Sanctuary and Christ the King temple. A couple of minutes away from the Cathedral by foot, on a strategic slope of Messina Mountains two beautiful churches watch over the city, Montalto Sanctuary and Christ the King temple. Besides their architectural and artistic relevance, the Panorama Messina displays is even more spectacular.
Due to the perfect position, not too high not too low, the city is visible in all its glory, from the Cathedral to the harbour, from the Strait to the Madonna Stele. Among the most beautiful places to visit and most iconic things to do in Messina, taking a couple of hours to go to these two churches on a tour, is something you really shouldn’t miss.
If you prefer a more lively place where you can maybe sit and sip a nice cold beer or eat ice cream while enjoying the view, then Christ the King Temple and its surroundings are what you’re looking for. If you, instead, prefer a more private, romantic spot, to just sit, maybe with your other half, and really take in the beauty of the best sunset panorama Messina can offer, then a visit to the Montalto Sanctuary is what you want.
Things to do in Messina are so many. The city is a strip of land between mountains and seas, rich in beauty, history and art, so make sure to take in as much as possible of this city’s natural views next time you visit.