The Info List - Messina

(/məˈsiːnə/; Italian pronunciation: [mesˈsiːna] ( listen), Sicilian: Missina; Latin: Messana, Greek: Μεσσήνη) is the capital of the Italian Metropolitan City of Messina. It is the third-largest city on the island of Sicily, and the 13th-largest city in Italy, with a population of more than 238,000[2] inhabitants in the city proper and about 650,000 in the Metropolitan City. It is located near the northeast corner of Sicily, at the Strait of Messina, opposite Villa San Giovanni on the mainland, and has close ties with Reggio Calabria. According to Eurostat[3] the FUA of the metropolitan area of Messina has, in 2014, 277,584 inhabitants. The city's main resources are its seaports (commercial and military shipyards), cruise tourism, commerce, and agriculture (wine production and cultivating lemons, oranges, mandarin oranges, and olives). The city has been a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and Archimandrite seat since 1548 and is home to a locally important international fair. The city has the University of Messina, founded in 1548 by Ignatius of Loyola. Messina
has a light rail system, Tranvia di Messina, opened on 3 April 2003. This line is 7.7 kilometres (4.8 mi) and links the city's central railway station with the city centre and harbour. The city is home to a significant Greek-speaking minority, rooted in its history and officially recognised.[4]


1 History 2 Climate 3 Main sights

3.1 Religious architecture 3.2 Civil and military architecture 3.3 Monuments 3.4 Museums

4 People 5 Literary references 6 See also 7 Notes 8 Sources 9 External links

History[edit] See also: Timeline of Messina

Frederick II age coins.

An image of the 1908 Messina earthquake
1908 Messina earthquake

Unexecuted Beaux-Arts plan for the reconstruction of the port, 1909.

Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina
was originally called Zancle (Greek: Ζάγκλη), from the Greek ζάγκλον meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its natural harbour (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). A comune of its Metropolitan City, located at the southern entrance of the Strait of Messina, is to this day called 'Scaletta Zanclea'. In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas of Rhegium
Anaxilas of Rhegium
renamed it Messene (Μεσσήνη) in honour of the Greek city Messene
(See also List of traditional Greek place names). The city was sacked in 397 BC by the Carthaginians and then reconquered by Dionysius I of Syracuse.

a tract of around 30 kilometres of beaches of Messina

the Feluca, the typical boat used by the fiscermen of Messina
to hunt the swordfish

The Madonna della Lettera that dominates the port of Messina
is the Saint
Patron of the city, celebrated the 3 of June

In 288 BC the Mamertines seized the city by treachery, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives. The city became a base from which they ravaged the countryside, leading to a conflict with the expanding regional empire of Syracuse. Hiero II, tyrant of Syracuse, defeated the Mamertines near Mylae
on the Longanus River
Longanus River
and besieged Messina. Carthage
assisted the Mamertines because of a long-standing conflict with Syracuse over dominance in Sicily. When Hiero attacked a second time in 264 BC, the Mamertines petitioned the Roman Republic for an alliance, hoping for more reliable protection. Although initially reluctant to assist lest it encourage other mercenary groups to mutiny, Rome
was unwilling to see Carthaginian power spread further over Sicily
and encroach on Italy. Rome
therefore entered into an alliance with the Mamertines. In 264 BC, Roman troops were deployed to Sicily, the first time a Roman army acted outside the Italian Peninsula. At the end of the First Punic War
First Punic War
it was a free city allied with Rome. In Roman times Messina, then known as Messana, had an important pharos (lighthouse). Messana was the base of Sextus Pompeius, during his war against Octavian. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was successively ruled by Goths
from 476, then by the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
in 535, by the Arabs
in 842, and in 1061 by the Norman brothers Robert Guiscard
Robert Guiscard
and Roger Guiscard (later count Roger I of Sicily). In 1189 the English King Richard I ("The Lionheart") stopped at Messina
en route to the Holy Land for the Third Crusade
Third Crusade
and briefly occupied the city after a dispute over the dowry of his sister, who had been married to William the Good, King of Sicily In 1345 Orlando d'Aragona, illegitimate son of Frederick II of Sicily was the strategos of Messina. Messina
may have been the harbour at which the Black Death
Black Death
entered Europe: the plague was brought by Genoese ships coming from Caffa
in the Crimea. In 1548 St. Ignatius founded there the first Jesuit college in the world, which later gave birth to the Studium Generale (the current University of Messina).[citation needed] The Christian ships that won the Battle of Lepanto (1571)
Battle of Lepanto (1571)
left from Messina: the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, who took part in the battle, recovered for some time in the Grand Hospital. The city reached the peak of its splendour in the early 17th century, under Spanish domination: at the time it was one of the ten greatest cities in Europe. In 1674 the city rebelled against the foreign garrison. It managed to remain independent for some time, thanks to the help of the French king Louis XIV, but in 1678, with the Peace of Nijmegen, it was reconquered by the Spaniards and sacked: the university, the senate and all the privileges of autonomy it had enjoyed since the Roman times were abolished. A massive fortress was built by the occupants and Messina
decayed steadily. In 1743, 48,000 died of plague in the city.[5] In 1783, an earthquake devastated much of the city, and it took decades to rebuild and rekindle the cultural life of Messina. In 1847 it was one of the first cities in Italy
where Risorgimento
riots broke out. In 1848 it rebelled openly against the reigning Bourbons, but was heavily suppressed again. Only in 1860, after the Battle of Milazzo, the Garibaldine troops occupied the city. One of the main figures of the unification of Italy, Giuseppe Mazzini, was elected deputy at Messina
in the general elections of 1866. Another earthquake of less intensity damaged the city on 16 November 1894. The city was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake and associated tsunami on the morning of 28 December 1908, killing about 100,000 people and destroying most of the ancient architecture. The city was largely rebuilt in the following year. It incurred further damage from the massive Allied air bombardments of 1943. The city was awarded a Gold Medal for Military Valour and one for Civil Valour in memory of the event and the subsequent effort of reconstruction.[citation needed] In June 1955, Messina
was the location of the Messina Conference
Messina Conference
of Western European foreign ministers which led to the creation of the European Economic Community.[6]

the Feast of the Assumption on mid August

Climate[edit] Messina
has a subtropical mediterranean climate with long, hot summers with low diurnal temperature variation with consistent dry weather. In winter, Messina
is rather wet and mild. Diurnals remain low and remain averaging above 10 °C (50 °F) lows even during winter. It is rather rainier than Reggio Calabria
Reggio Calabria
on the other side of the Messina
Strait, a remarkable climatic difference for such a small distance.

Climate data for Messina

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Record high °C (°F) 24.6 (76.3) 26.9 (80.4) 32.0 (89.6) 29.6 (85.3) 33.6 (92.5) 43.4 (110.1) 43.6 (110.5) 41.8 (107.2) 40.5 (104.9) 36.4 (97.5) 29.2 (84.6) 26.6 (79.9) 43.6 (110.5)

Average high °C (°F) 14.4 (57.9) 14.7 (58.5) 16.1 (61) 18.3 (64.9) 22.5 (72.5) 26.8 (80.2) 30.0 (86) 30.5 (86.9) 27.5 (81.5) 23.2 (73.8) 18.8 (65.8) 15.8 (60.4) 21.55 (70.78)

Daily mean °C (°F) 12.3 (54.1) 12.2 (54) 13.5 (56.3) 15.4 (59.7) 19.5 (67.1) 23.6 (74.5) 26.7 (80.1) 27.3 (81.1) 24.5 (76.1) 20.5 (68.9) 16.4 (61.5) 13.7 (56.7) 18.8 (65.84)

Average low °C (°F) 10.1 (50.2) 9.8 (49.6) 10.9 (51.6) 12.5 (54.5) 16.4 (61.5) 20.4 (68.7) 23.4 (74.1) 24.2 (75.6) 21.5 (70.7) 17.8 (64) 14.1 (57.4) 11.6 (52.9) 16.06 (60.9)

Record low °C (°F) 0.2 (32.4) −0.1 (31.8) −0.2 (31.6) 4.3 (39.7) 7.5 (45.5) 12.4 (54.3) 15.3 (59.5) 14.4 (57.9) 12.5 (54.5) 7.5 (45.5) 5.1 (41.2) 1.0 (33.8) −0.2 (31.6)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 102.9 (4.051) 100.2 (3.945) 83.4 (3.283) 68.3 (2.689) 33.8 (1.331) 12.7 (0.5) 20.0 (0.787) 25.6 (1.008) 63.9 (2.516) 113.7 (4.476) 119.5 (4.705) 102.9 (4.051) 846.9 (33.342)

Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.6 9.8 8.6 8.5 3.9 1.9 2.0 2.5 5.6 8.5 11.0 10.9 83.8

Average relative humidity (%) 73 71 69 69 67 64 63 66 68 70 73 74 68.9

Mean monthly sunshine hours 114.7 130.0 170.5 207.0 257.3 294.0 331.7 306.9 240.0 189.1 138.0 111.6 2,490.8

Source #1: Servizio Meteorologico (temperature and precipitation data 1971–2000);[7] Clima en Messina
desde 1957 hasta 2013[8]

Source #2: Messina
Osservatorio Meteorologico (temperature records since 1909);[9] Servizio Meteorologico (relative humidity and sun data 1961–1990)[10]

Main sights[edit]

Panorama of Messina Strait
Messina Strait
seen from Messina
towards the Italian mainland. Reggio Calabria
Reggio Calabria
can be seen on the right.

Religious architecture[edit]

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Cathedral of Messina.

Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani.

Porta Grazia.

Fountain of Orion.

The Cathedral (12th century), containing the remains of king Conrad, ruler of Germany
and Sicily
in the 13th century. The building had to be almost entirely rebuilt in 1919–20, following the devastating 1908 earthquake, and again in 1943, after a fire triggered by Allied bombings. The original Norman structure can be recognised in the apsidal area. The façade has three late Gothic portals, the central of which probably dates back to the early 15th century. The architrave is decorated with a sculpture of Christ Among the Evangelists and various representations of men, animals and plants. The tympanum dates back to 1468. The interior is organised in a nave and two equally long aisles divided by files of 28 columns. Some decorative elements belong the original building, although the mosaics in the apse are reconstructions. Tombs of illustrious men besides Conrad IV include those of Archbishops Palmer (died in 1195), Guidotto de Abbiate (14th century) and Antonio La Legname (16th century). Special
interest is held by the Chapel of the Sacrament (late 16th century), with scenic decorations and 14th century mosaics. The bell tower holds one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world, built in 1933 by the Ungerer Company of Strasbourg. The belfry's mechanically-animated statues, which illustrate events from the civil and religious history of the city every day at noon, are a popular tourist attraction. The Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Carmelo (near the Courthouse), built in 1931, which contains a 17th-century statue of the Virgin Mary. See also Chiesa del Carmine. The Sanctuary of Montevergine, where the incorrupt body of Saint Eustochia Smeralda Calafato
Eustochia Smeralda Calafato
is preserved. The Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani
Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani
(late 12th–13th century). Dating from the late Norman period, it was transformed in the 13th century when the nave was shortened and the façade added. It has a cylindrical apse and a high dome emerging from a high tambour. Noteworthy is the external decoration of the transept and the dome area, with a series of blind arches separated by small columns, clearly reflecting Arabic architectural influences. The Church of Santa Maria degli Alemanni (early 13th century), which was formerly a chapel of the Teutonic Knights. It is a rare example of pure Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture
in Sicily, as is witnessed by the arched windows and shapely buttresses.

The giants Mata and Grifone, whose stories are told about the city, are brought around Messina
during the second week of August

Civil and military architecture[edit]

The 'Botanical Garden Pietro Castelli
Pietro Castelli
of the University of Messina. The Palazzo Calapaj, an example of 18th-century Messinese architecture which survived until the 1908 earthquake. The Forte del Santissimo Salvatore, a 16th-century fort in the Port of Messina. The Forte Gonzaga, a 16th-century fort overlooking Messina. The Porta Grazia, 17th-century gate of the " Real Cittadella
Real Cittadella
di Messina", by Domenico Biundo and Antonio Amato, a fortress still existing in the harbour. The Pylon, built in 1957 together with a twin located across the Strait of Messina, to carry a 220 kV overhead power line bringing electric power to the island. At the time of their construction, the two electric pylons were the highest in the world. The power line has since been replaced by an underwater cable, but the pylon still stands as a freely accessible tourist attraction. The San Ranieri lighthouse, built in 1555.


The Fountain of Orion, a monumental civic sculpture located next to the Cathedral, built in 1547 by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, student of Michelangelo, with a Neoplatonic-alchemical program. It was considered by art historian Bernard Berenson
Bernard Berenson
"the most beautiful fountain of the sixteenth century in Europe". The Fountain of Neptune, looking towards the harbour, built by Montorsoli in 1557. The Senatory Fountain, built in 1619. The Four Fountains, though only two elements of the four-cornered complex survive today.


Museo Regionale di Messina
(MuMe) hosting notable paintings by Caravaggio, Antonello da Messina, Alonzo Rodriguez, Mattia Preti The Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea di Messina, hostings paintings by Giò Pomodoro, Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Corrado Cagli, Giuseppe Migneco, Max Liebermann


Antonello da Messina, major painter of the Renaissance (born 1430) Aristocles of Messene, Peripatetic philosopher (1st century AD) Dicaearchus, Greek philosopher and mathematician (born 350 BC) Guido delle Colonne, judge and writer (13th century) Girolamo Alibrandi, painter (born in 1470) Eustochia Smeralda Calafato, saint (born 1434) Francesco Maurolico, astronomer, mathematician and humanist (born 1494) Filippo Juvarra, Baroque architect (born 1678) Mariano Riccio, painter (born 1510) Francesco Comande, painter (16th century) Alonzo Rodriguez, painter (born 1578) Giovanni Quagliata, painter (born 1603) Agostino Scilla, painter, paleontologist, geologist and pioneer in the study of fossils (born 1629) Giovanni Tuccari, painter (born 1667) Caio Domenico Gallo, historian (born 1697) Antonio Barbalonga, painter (17th century) Filippo Bonaffino (fl. 1623), Italian madrigal composer Mario Aspa, composer (born 1797) Giuseppe La Farina, leader of the Italian Risorgimento
(born 1815) Giuseppe Seguenza, naturalist and geologist (born 1833) Giuseppe Natoli, lawyer and politician (born 1815) Giuseppe Sergi, anthropologist and psychologist (born 1841) Annibale Maria Di Francia, saint (born 1851) Luigi Rizzo, naval officer and First World War
First World War
hero (born 1887) Adolfo Celi, actor (born 1922) Maria Grazia Cucinotta, actress (born 1968) Nino Frassica, actor (born 1950) Massimo Mollica, actor (born 1929) Tano Cimarosa, actor (born 1922) Gaetano Martino, politician, physician and university teacher (born 1900) Giuseppe Migneco, painter (born 1908) Stefano D'Arrigo, writer (born 1919) Vincenzo Nibali, cyclist (born 1984) Tony Cairoli, motocross world champion (born 1985) Agata C. M. Scolgio, also known as Tina Scala, actress (born July 16, 1934) Giuseppe La Motta, the father of boxer Jake La Motta, was from Messina but emigrated to America. Antonino Prestopino and Letteria Rando, the parents of famous mid-twentieth century artist Gregorio Prestopino, came from Messina and left just prior to his birth.

Literary references[edit]

The statue of Messina

Pitoni, a common dish in Messina

Numerous writers set their works in Messina, including:

– The Life of Pompey (40 BC?) Giovanni Boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio
– Decameron IV day V novel, Lisabetta da Messina – IV day IV Novel, Gerbino ed Elissa (1351) Matteo Bandello
Matteo Bandello
– Novelliere First Part, novel XXII (1554) William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Much Ado about Nothing
Much Ado about Nothing
(1598) and Antony and Cleopatra (1607) Molière
– L'Etourdi ou Les Contre-temps (1654) Friedrich Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
– Die Braut von Messina
(The Bride of Messina, 1803) Silvio Pellico
Silvio Pellico
– Eufemio da Messina
(1818) Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
– Idyllen aus Messina
(Idylls from Messina, 1882) Giovanni Pascoli
Giovanni Pascoli
– poem L'Aquilone (1904) Elio Vittorini
Elio Vittorini
– Le donne di Messina
(Women of Messina, 1949) and Conversazione in Sicilia (Conversations in Sicily, 1941) Stefano D'Arrigo – Horcynus Orca (1975) Julien Green
Julien Green
– Demain n'existe pas (1985)

See also[edit]

A.C.R. Messina International Rally of Messina Messina
Centrale railway station Messina Grand Prix
Messina Grand Prix
held between 1959 and 1961 Strait of Messina
Strait of Messina
Bridge Torre Faro 224 metres tall lattice tower Zanclean Age of the Pliocene
Epoch in geology, named for Zancle, ancient Messina Messinian
Age of the Miocene
Epoch in geology, named for Messina


^ Data from ISTAT ^ Population of Messina, Italy
Archived 2014-05-13 at the Wayback Machine. Geonames Geographical database ^ http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=urb_lpop1&lang=en ^ "Delimiting the territory of the Greek linguistic minority of Messina" (PDF).  ^ "Epidemiology of the Black Death
Black Death
and Successive Waves of Plague" by Samuel K Cohn JR. Medical History. ^ "''The Messina
Declaration 1955'' final document of ''The Conference of Messina'' 1 to 3 June 1955 – birth of the European Union". Eu-history.leidenuniv.nl. Retrieved 5 April 2011.  ^ "MESSINA" (PDF). Servizio Meteorologico. Retrieved 13 October 2012.  ^ "Messina". Retrieved 8 February 2013.  ^ " Messina
Osservatorio Meteorologico". Servizio Meteorologico dell’Aeronautica Militare. Retrieved 17 February 2014.  ^ "MESSINA". Servizio Meteorologico. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 

Sources[edit] See also: Bibliography of the history of Messina External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Messina.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Messina.

has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia
American Cyclopædia
article Messina.

Official website (in Italian)

v t e

Comuni of the Metropolitan City of Messina

Acquedolci Alcara li Fusi Alì Alì
Terme Antillo Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto Basicò Brolo Capizzi Capo d'Orlando Capri Leone Caronia Casalvecchio Siculo Castel di Lucio Castell'Umberto Castelmola Castroreale Cesarò Condrò Falcone Ficarra Fiumedinisi Floresta Fondachelli-Fantina Forza d'Agrò Francavilla di Sicilia Frazzanò Furci Siculo Furnari Gaggi Galati Mamertino Gallodoro Giardini Naxos Gioiosa Marea Graniti Gualtieri Sicaminò Itala Leni Letojanni Librizzi Limina Lipari Longi Malfa Malvagna Mandanici Mazzarrà Sant'Andrea Merì Messina Milazzo Militello Rosmarino Mirto Mistretta Mojo Alcantara Monforte San Giorgio Mongiuffi Melia Montagnareale Montalbano Elicona Motta Camastra Motta d'Affermo Naso Nizza di Sicilia Novara
di Sicilia Oliveri Pace del Mela Pagliara Patti Pettineo Piraino Raccuja Reitano Roccafiorita Roccalumera Roccavaldina Roccella Valdemone Rodì Milici Rometta San Filippo del Mela San Fratello San Marco d'Alunzio San Pier Niceto San Piero Patti San Salvatore di Fitalia Santa Domenica Vittoria Sant'Agata di Militello Sant'Alessio Siculo Santa Lucia del Mela Santa Marina Salina Sant'Angelo di Brolo Santa Teresa di Riva San Teodoro Santo Stefano di Camastra Saponara Savoca Scaletta Zanclea Sinagra Spadafora Taormina Terme Vigliatore Torregrotta Torrenova Tortorici Tripi Tusa Ucria Valdina Venetico Villafranca Tirrena

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 146699997 LCCN: n79046135 GN