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Messina

Culture & history

Our most recommended Messina Culture & History

Taormina: Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket to the Ancient Theater

1. Taormina: Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket to the Ancient Theater

Pre-book your entry ticket to the Ancient Theater of Taormina and enjoy the added perk of skip-the-line entry privileges. Take a stirring journey through the archaeological ruins and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. After the one of Syracusa, the Ancient Theater of Taormina is the largest building for shows in the Italian Peninsula. The archaeological site offers the opportunity to step back into the past as well as enjoy the views of the surrounding landscapes. The Greek building, built in a dominant position, dates back, by layout, to the III-II century B.C., but the monument you can admire today appears in the forms acquired in the roman imperial age under the emperor Trajan or Hadrian. It becomes an amphitheater under the emperor Caracalla and, in the same period, the orchestra was converted into an arena to host gladiator fights. After centuries of neglect, in 1465, part of the monument was used as a palace of residence of the Zumbo family.

Taormina: Ancient Theater Entry Ticket and Guided Tour

2. Taormina: Ancient Theater Entry Ticket and Guided Tour

Visit the Ancient Theater of Taormina with this guided tour and enjoy the added perk of skip-the-line entry privileges. Take a journey through the archaeological ruins and learn the history. Step back into the past with a visit to the Ancient Theater of Taormina. After the one of Syracusa, the Ancient Theater of Taormina is the largest building for shows in the Italian Peninsula. Learn about the Greek building that dates back to the 3rd-2nd century BCE. See how the Romans under Emperor Trajan and Hadrian changed the monument/ Discover the amphitheatre and orchestra, converted under Emperor Caracalla and hear tales of gladiator fights during this period.

Messina: Guided City Highlights Walking Tour

3. Messina: Guided City Highlights Walking Tour

Explore Messina on a guided walking tour. Stroll through magnificent buildings and landscapes. Hear about the history and aesthetics of this facinating city. Learn about how the citizens rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1908. Meet your guide and pass by the neoclassical city council building of Palazzo Zanca. Find out the legend behind the Sanctuary of Madonna di Montalto and take in views of Messina from its elevated vantage point. Continuing to the second largest cathedral in Sicily to see the marble façade, mosaics, and painted ceilings. Admire the Bell Tower, which contains the largest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world. View a stunning mix of Sicilian and Norman architecture at the 12th century Church of S.S. Annunziata dei Catalani. Finish your tour with taste of something sweet at a local pastry shop.

Messina: Godfather Private Tour with Optional Food and Wine

4. Messina: Godfather Private Tour with Optional Food and Wine

Enjoy the sights and tastes of Italy à la The Godfather in the company of a knowledgeable, English-speaking tour guide.  Your guide will pick you up at your hotel or port at a time suitable to you before beginning your tour in Savoca, a medieval hilltop town where the fictitious Michael Corleone hid out during the "Going to the Mattresses" scene.  In Savoca, stop at Bar Vitelli, which looks exactly as it did in the movie. At Bar Vitelli, you will be invited to take pictures with an authentic Sicilian shotgun, see pictures from The Godfather movie, enjoy the view from the square where the wedding scene was filmed, and purchase souvenirs.  The highlight, however, will be an optional tasting of Sicilian cannoli and lemon granita. Your next stop will be the church of Santa Lucia, where Michael and Apollonia got married. You will follow in the footsteps of the newlyweds down the hill into the town. Once in the town, visit another ancient church, dating back to the 13th century.  Your guide will tell you about the filming processes involved in shooting The Godfather and some fun trivia about the movie, the director, and the actors. Discover the history of the real Sicilian mafia from your guide. Hear how the mafia rose to power, its structure, and about the "Law of Silence", "Men of Respect" and the "Boss of the Bosses". After all this walking and learning, you will be taken to visit one of the best wine bars in Savoca where you can try excellent Sicilian wines and locally produced, traditional food including cheeses, salami, prosciutto, olives, and homemade bread.  During the tour in Savoca, you will also see the mirror monument dedicated to Coppola, on the panoramic terrace overlooking the Ionian coast, the site of Michael Corleone's wedding scene. Your tour will continue to Forza D'Agro, another stunning hilltop town. Your guide will lead you along abandoned streets towards the historic square where you will visit the churches Santissima Trinita and Santissima Annunziata. In Forza D'Agro, you will see the piazza where young Vita Andolini escaped from Don Ciccio's men and you will walk up to the remains of a 12th-century Norman Castle to admire the panoramic view of the Ionian coastline.

From Taormina: The Godfather Movie Tour of Sicily Villages

5. From Taormina: The Godfather Movie Tour of Sicily Villages

Depart from Taormina to visit the Sicilian hill towns of Savoca and Forza D’Agrò. Explore the sets of the popular movie The Godfather. See the famous Bar Vitelli and wedding venue, among other places you’ll recognize from the films. Hear stories about the movies and Sicily from a local guide. Enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside. Take a pleasant stroll in the villages. Easily find filming locations of the movie. Visit the Trimarchi building, the venue for the famous Bar Vitelli. Then, see the location of the wedding shoot, the Church of Santa Lucia. Learn about tales behind the great film, and the equally captivating history of the island that inspired this masterpiece by Francis Ford Coppola. Many scenes of village life were filmed on the cobblestone streets and traditional houses of Forzà d'Agrò. Explore SS. Annunziata Square, Church of SS. Annunziata, and the birthplace of Vito Corleone. Admire the charm of the Sicilian countryside in this amazing place, nestled between the provinces of Messina and Catania.

From Tropea: Full-Day Tour to Taormina in Sicily

6. From Tropea: Full-Day Tour to Taormina in Sicily

Travel from Tropea to Taormina in Sicily and explore the beautiful town on a day trip. The journey alone will enchant you as you pass by the Tyrrhenian cliffs overlooking the Aeolian Islands to reach the port of Villa San Giovanni. Continue on by ferry across the Strada di Messine. During the crossing you can enjoy an espresso on the deck and the panoramic views of Mount Etna and Messina. Taormina is known for its mild climate, lush vegetation, magnificent palaces, dreamy streets, elegant squares, and panoramic views at 200 meters above sea level at the foot of the Monte Tauro Mountains. You will be accompanied to Porta di Taormina, the entrance to the city, from where you can explore on your own. Stroll past chic boutiques and visit the Greco-Roman amphitheater, where you'll have a fantastic view of Mount Etna. Try Sicilian specialties, such as fresh arancini (rice balls filled with vegetables and ground meat) or granita (a sorbet-like desert). Let yourself be tempted to a shopping spree or just relax at the Piazza.

Taormina: Roundtrip Transfer from Messina

7. Taormina: Roundtrip Transfer from Messina

Take advantage of an afternoon cruise stop in Messina and travel along the beautiful Sicilian coast to enjoy 3 hours exploring Taormina at your own leisure. Perfect for those who want the convenience of a round-trip transfer with the independence to explore the city at their own pace, this service provides pickup near the marina on Via Battisti and takes guests on a 1 hour and 15 minute journey to Taormina.

3-Hour Messina Segway PT Authorized Tour

8. 3-Hour Messina Segway PT Authorized Tour

On this fun, informative Segway tour, discover the city of Messina, which was entirely rebuilt after the terrible earthquake destroyed it in 1908. Starting from Via Castellammare, near Via Garibaldi, next to the Catalani Church, you will go to the city's commercial center - Piazza Cairoli - and on to Piazza Pugliatti where there the Court of Justice and university are located. Next, move on to Piazza Duomo to admire the fountain of Orion and the Cathedral with its bell tower, famous for its astronomical clock unveiled in 1933 when the reconstruction of the Christian temple was finished. You will see the church S.S. Annunziata dei Catalani, with its beautiful baroque fountains in front. Nearby in Via Lepanto, see the monument dedicated to Don Juan of Austria before proceeding to Piazza Antonello, enclosed by neoclassical palaces. On the way to the medieval church San Francesco d’Assisi, admire the baroque palace Monte di Pietà. Continue through the public gardens to reach Piazza Unità d'Italia, where you will see the Palace of the Government and the fountain of Neptune by Montorsoli. From here, you will ride back to Piazza Municipio, observing the statue of Ferdinand de Bourbon and the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele along the way. Tour itinerary can be modified on-site with your guide to include, for example, shopping at Viale San Martino; a panoramic view from Montalto Church, or the North Coast Museum.

Messina: 2-Hour Walking Tour with a Private Guide

9. Messina: 2-Hour Walking Tour with a Private Guide

Your tour starts from Piazza del Duomo, where you can admire the Fountain of Orion which was built in 1500 by a disciple and collaborator of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Represented within it are the four rivers, and the upper basin is decorated with verses in Latin. Afterwards, you will visit the magnificent cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. Built in the Byzantine era and expanded at the time of Swabians, it was destroyed in 1254 during the funeral of King Corrado IV (son of Frederick II Hohenstaufen), before being later rebuilt in 1908. You will encounter Renaissance decorations, Baroque decorations, and finally those of the 1900s. You will also view various statues, marbles and mosaics, copies of the original versions which are now lost. The façade is decorated with multi-colored bands and embellished with marble and 14th century reliefs. The outside of the 90-meter-high and 10-meter-wide bell tower has the largest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world. Everyday at noon, the various statues move to the sound of the Hail Mary of Schubert. The figures of the bell tower recall the War of the Vespers of 1282, in which the Sicilians stood victorious over Charles of Anjou. Your tour will continue with a view of the port, the largest in Sicily and one of the largest in Italy, before ending with views of the Belvedere skyline.

Messina: Off-the-Beaten Track Private Tour w/ a Guide

10. Messina: Off-the-Beaten Track Private Tour w/ a Guide

Join this private walking tour led by a local guide to discover the beautiful city of Messina off-the-beaten-track. Just a few kilometers from the Italian mainland, Messina sits on a curved harbor at the northernmost point of Sicily's Ionian Coast. During this 2.5-hour guided tour, you will have the chance to see some of the most beautiful and important - although still partially hidden - spots in the city, such as Teatro Vittorio Emanuele (theater) and the pretty Villa Mazzini (home to an amazing and huge aquarium). You will spot the Regional Museum and walk up to discover the Sacrario di Cristo Re, that was built on a small hill on the ruins of the Castle Matagrifone. From the beautiful lookout in front you, enjoy an incomparable view of the strait and the city, that is always becoming more and more a desired as a beautiful holiday destination by tourists. Just one tip: don't forget to bring your camera along.

  • Guided tours
  • Day trips
  • Private tours
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What people are saying about Messina

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 1 reviews

Although you can walk around the theatre without a guide, you miss out on all the history and interesting perspectives about the theatre. Our guide was amazing!!! This tour was the highlight of our stay in Taomrina.

everything was super ok, but as an advice: try to go there at 9 am because is less crowded and the heat is beareble :)

Mario was fantastic. Knowledgeable, fun, and communicative. Highly recommend.

This is a must see. Also, along the way there is great shopping!

Mariateresa prepared but also nice The two hours have flown by