Removals to Italy – Messina
Messina is the third largest city on the Italian island of Sicily, and is situated next to the island's capital Palermo. It lies on the northern coast, looking over the Straits of Messina to the Italian mainland, just 5km away. To make the job of moving to Messina as easy as possible, we can find you a competitive quote from hundreds of companies offering removals to Italy, to get you the best deal.
Messina has a population of around a quarter of a million people in the main city, with more than 600,000 additional residents in the wider metropolitan area. As you'd expect from its position in the middle of the Mediterranean, the climate is warm throughout the year with temperatures of up to 20 °C or more even in January, and into the 30's or 40's in midsummer. A combination of sunshine, great food and a relaxed way of life – but with a relatively low cost of living and thriving economy – makes it a popular location for British people looking for a place to retire or even to set up business.
A Short History of Messina
Sicily has been occupied since at least Stone Age times and there are still signs of their presence in the forms of stone dolmen and cave paintings in different locations on the island. However, the city of Messina dates back to around 800 BC when it was founded by the Greeks. It came under Roman influence in the 3rd century BC, although it was given free city status. The city then changed hands a number of times between the Goths, the Byzantine Empire and eventually the Normans at around the same time of the English conquest. The city was briefly occupied in 1189 by the English king, Richard the Lionheart, on his way to the crusades.
In the 17th century the city came under Spanish influence and was considered one of the 10 most important cities in Europe, due to its wealth, its influence on trade between the East and Europe, and its strategic position. The city briefly won its freedom from the Spanish in 1674, only to be conquered once again, suffering the destruction of much of its key infrastructure and institutions, causing the subsequent decline of the city over the next century.
Due to the presence of Mount Etna on the island, the city has suffered a series of major earthquakes in 1783, 1894 and 1908, to be followed by yet further damage during the Second World War. Despite these setbacks, the city has seen a lot of rebuilding and maintains its status as a significant metropolis standing at the crossing point between Sicily and the mainland.
Transport in Messina
Messina is well connected to mainland Italy via frequent ferry services which operate 24/7 from the port to Villa San Giovanni– a return fare costs around 5 euros. Ferries can also be taken to other mainland destinations such as Salerno, near Naples, and to a number of smaller nearby islands including Stromboli.
Sicily has an extensive railway network, with no fewer than 160 stations across the island, and is a good option for getting from Messina Central Railway Station to other major towns such as Palermo in the north, Catania in the east and Modica in the south. However, it is advisable to study the timetables closely to check timings and frequencies before travelling.
Within Messina itself, try the light rail system which connects the main railway station with the harbour and the city centre.
There is also a good bus service around Messina and around Sicily. Alternatively, taxis are available from the port as you get off the ferry which will take you into Messina or further afield – although this is the more expensive option for longer journeys.
Sights and Attractions in Messina
Sadly, many of the oldest buildings in Messina have suffered as a result of earthquakes and World War II damage. However, there has been significant restoration in recent years and there are still some wonderful structures to be seen in the city once your removals to Italy are complete.
One of the most popular attractions for tourists is the Cathedral, dating from the 12th century, with its bell tower. In 1933, the tower was fitted with a large astronomical clock which animates an elaborate mechanical display of statues each day at 12 noon, lasting 15 minutes.
As well as a number of other magnificent churches, there are several 16th century forts in and around the port of Messina, along with the 16th century built San Ranieri lighthouse.
If you are in search of artistic treasures, pay a visit to the Regional Museum, which houses works by a number of medieval and Renaissance artists, including Caravaggio and Antonello da Messina. As well as paintings, you will find intricate jewellery and an interesting archaeology exhibition.
Food in Messina
The native cuisine of Sicily is very recognisably Italian, with particular emphasis on the use of local fish and shellfish. Swordfish is especially popular and is known as "the King of the Straits", where it is caught. The island produces a wide range of foodstuffs of all kinds locally, including vegetables, fruits and meat, as well as its own olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
In addition to the usual range of pasta, meat and vegetable dishes you might expect, Messina has a strong reputation for excellent homemade pastries and cakes, as well as delicious ice cream.
There are an abundance of good restaurants in Messina, including Piero and La Durlindana, which are both featured in the Michelin Guide 2016. The majority of restaurants provide regional and local dishes with few, if any, representing more international cuisine. However, given the excellent standard of local produce and the huge range on offer, you won’t miss a thing!
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