The history of Messina is inevitably linked to its strategic position. An important commercial port since ancient times, the colony was founded and enlarged by the Greeks and in later centuries it was a coveted prey by the conquerors who came and went on the island. Little is preserved of the ancient city. In fact, a violent earthquake destroyed it at the beginning of the twentieth century, decimating its population. The city was entirely rebuilt, but less than forty years later it was also subjected to the bombing of the Second World War. These events explain how Messina has a completely different architecture from other Sicilian cities, presenting a more modern appearance, very wide streets and buildings typical of the twentieth century.
Before these two events that inevitably marked its history, of the architectural beauties of Messina is perserved the Cathedral Basilica of Metropolitan, known as the cathedral of Messina. Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, it was rebuilt after 1908 in respect of the original architecture, while the works of art that enriched it were recovered and restored.
Entering the Duomo you cannot fail to be fascinated by the size of the organ, the second largest in Italy after that of the Milan Cathedral and third in Europe. The cathedral of Messina is known throughout the world, in particular, for the spectacle of the clock of the bell tower, in which the statues that allegorically represent the historical episodes linked to the city seem to come to life every day at 12 o'clock. The musical background, Schubert's Hail Mary, will move you.
Among the museums to visit, we point out the Regional Museum, an important museum in which the paintings of the painter Antonello da Messina, two paintings by Caravaggio and several historical artifacts are kept, brought to light by the dust caused by the earthquake and then by the war.
Messina can also boast a beautiful theater entitled to King Vittorio Emanuele II, whose dome was painted by Renato Guttuso, while the exterior is in neoclassical style. Neoclassical is also the university pole of the city, one of the most important of the past. Built by Ignazio di Loyola, it preserves the portal of the ancient Jesuit college of the city.