Curiosities of Messina

The city of Messina is known, above all, by the Strait of Messina: all those who arrive from the continent, to go to Calabria or to Sicily, necessarily pass through the strait.

In fact, every day and continuously boats and boats carry people, cars, trucks and various merchandise from one place to another. Now nobody is afraid of the monsters Scylla and Charybdis of Greek mythology: the legend tells that both sea monsters controlled the strait and flooded the boats that dared to challenge them sailing through these waters.

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The strait connects Reggio Calabria with Messina, but it is the only link between the two cities: history together both cities in the origins of Greece and in the past under Roman, Byzantine, Norman and Spanish rule. Both cities suffered the same fate during the earthquake of 1908, when they were destroyed, but their inhabitants worked in such a way that the reconstruction was very fast. Another point in common between the two cities des strait, this time much more pleasant, is the magnificent swordfish that is caught in its waters and that is cooked on both coasts and that is sublime.

The northern coast of Messina offers us great sandy beaches and there is nothing strange here. What, on the contrary, is very curious is the name of some of these areas such as: Peace, Contemplation and Paradise. It is true that when you come here we can stay contemplating the fantastic panorama (seeing the blue of the sea, perfectly the coast of Calabria), enjoy “peace” and tranquility and feel in “paradise”.

This last name was that of the property of a nobleman, surrounded by marvelous gardens and citrus trees, where many personalities went; the name was later extended to the entire area. The name of Contemplation was, however, very likely due to the Virgin of Contemplation.

If we go from Messina to the northeastern end of the strait, that is, to Cape Peloro or Punta del Faro, where the Tyrrhenian Sea meets the Ionian Sea, we find two lakes; the largest, Ganzirri Lake, is known as Big Swamp. The smallest, the Lake of the Lighthouse, is known as Piccolo Swamp. These lakes, linked to the sea by channels, have a huge biodiversity to such an extent that they have become protected areas. Since the nineteenth century it was discovered that these lakes could become a source of sustenance for its inhabitants thanks to the mussel farming. In fact, since that time it was discovered how to grow clams and mussels. At the moment this activity is maintained above all in the Piccolo Swamp.

The city of Messina has hosted many famous people, especially artists: the famous painter Caravaggio, after passing through Syracuse, resided in Messina from the end of 1608 until the summer of 1609. Of course this beautiful city served as inspiration, since that this period was very fruitful for him from an artistic point of view; He received several commissions both for the part of individuals, as well as the public entity. From this stay he left fantastic testimonies: l’Adorazione dei Pastori and La Risurrezione di Lazzaro. These two great works can be admired in the room of the Regional Museum, where the work of Antonello da Messina is also found.

It would be a mistake to consider the city of Messina as a place of passage; it is worthwhile, on the contrary, to take some time to discover and appreciate this fantastic town.