Many times destroyed, many times rebuilt, the ancient Zancle, later called Messanion, was stubbornly reconstructed always there in the same natural "arm of land" where wars, earthquakes and destructions changed its look but not its inhabitants’ determination.
History tells us that the City of the Strait was always enriched by some elegant buildings. Among them was the courtly Palazzata along the port. The first terrible 1783 earthquake reduced it to dust and the same happened in 1908 when there were more than hundred thousand victims. After this earthquake the new Messina was rebuilt using some anti-seismic systems and a modern urban design.
Nowadays, even if only a few things are left of its ancient heritage, the enchanting restored Cathedral (Duomo) can still be admired in its original form dating back to the 12th century. Close by the Cathedral, you can admire one of the Montorsoli’s masterpieces: the Fountain of Orion.
The Cathedral square is the heart of the historical centre. A few meters away, there are the Church of the Catalans in arab-style and the 19th century Vittorio Emanuele III Gallery.
The most impressive testimony of Messina’s faith and tradition, is the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Letter - Madonna della Lettera - the Patron of Messina. The statue is placed on a tall column at the mouth of the port. The Blessed Virgin Mary of the Letter blesses Messina and all foreign people arriving to or departing from the City of the Strait. In front of the religious statue is the Fountain of Neptune. The synthesis of the historical-artistic patrimony of Messina is held in the Regional Museum where it is possible to see two magnificent Caravaggio’s paintings.