Along the narrowest part of the Strait of Messina, the city is just 4 kilometers from the mainland. There is a busy ferry connection to Calabria. There has long been talk of building a bridge linking Sicily to the mainland, but so far all transportion happens by boat. Even the train goes on the ferry.
Throughout history, Messina was an important trade and transportation hub because of the strategically located sickle-shaped harbor. In 1908 disaster struck and the city was completely destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami. More than 70,000 people lost their lives.
Messina has learned from the past and the modern city was build according to a tight and safe design. Wide streets and low buildings should avoid a damage during a natural disater.
Messina is quite a pleasant town with a few landmarks. In 2-3 hours you can see a lot. Many passengers however, opt for an excursion to Taormina, one of the most beautiful places on the island, located about 50 kilometers from Messina. If you combine both, count on a whole day.
Popular ports for an excursion to Messina are: