The "Gateway to Sicily" is thru Messina located on the eastern upper tip of the island. It's beauty, colorful history, and people are a testament to this entranceway that introduces Sicily to the world.
Messina's history dates back over 2,500 years. Legend says that two giants Mata and Grifone were the founders of the city. But other sources say that the first people to colonize Messina were the Greeks. The Greek influence will be found in the ancient temples and ampitheatres throughout Messina.
Messina is considered to be one of the most modern areas of Sicily, although there are still tragic reminders throughout the city of the after-effects of war and earthquakes. It's a mixture of the old and battered ruins of years past and the more recent restoration of its churches and other buildings. This is evident in the Duomo of Messina which had to be completely restored in its original Norman style after the great earthquake of 1908. Also in the Piazza del Duomo you will see the beautiful Orion Fountain (16thC) which was restored by a pupil of Michaelangelo's - Angelo Montorsoli.
Messina's Gastronomy is a blend of the tuna, swordfish, and lobster which is abundant. Messina is famous for their "ghiotta" (fish soup), which is prepared with swordfish, rockfish, tomatoes, onions, celery, capers, olives and olive oil. Also the dessert "pignolata," a yellowish-white cake with an almond and sugar base, flavored with lemon and topped with either a white or a chocolate icing is a Messina tradition.
A couple of the Events celebrated in Messina are the "La Varetta" in June which honors the "Madonna della Lettera" and during Ferragosto in August is the "Parade of the Giants" which commemorates the legend of the city's founders Mata and Grifone.