The province of Messina



View of straits
Photo © A.A.P.I.T. Messina

Messina (Zip Code 98100) is a main chief and it is 288 km. distant from Agrigento, 229 km. from Caltanissetta, 96 km. from Catania, 193 km. from Enna, 259 km. from Palermo, 200 km. from Ragusa, 154 km. from Siracusa, 358 km. from Trapani.

The municipality has 262.224 inhabitants and an area of 21.123 hectares for a population density of 1241 inhabitants per square kilometre. It rises along the coast on a hilly area and is 3 metres above sea-level.

Photo © Turi Calvino 

Cathedral of Messina

The Town Hall is placed in piazza Municipio n. 1, tel. ++39 090-7721 fax. ++39 090-718201 toll free number 800061146 (only for Italian residents).

Main economic activities are agriculture and breeding and industry. Products mostly cultivated are cereals, forages, corn, olives, grapes, dried fruit and fruit in general. Breedings present are cattle, pig, horse and sheep ones.

In the VI century B.C. the original name of Messina was Zancle that in Greek means sickle and was referred to S. Ranieri's peninsula shape. In fact it was just in this place that the first centre was founded by colonies from Calcidia. The town changed its name in the V century B.C. into Messanion after Messeni's invasion. But it again changed its name into Massana during Roman domination and into Msna during Arabic domination till up the current name of Messina.

In 396 B.C. it was destroyed by Chartaginians and was again built by Dionysus tyrant of Siracusa. In 263 B.C. it was conquered by Romans; in 843 by Arabs, then by Normans and Angevins.

Photo © A.A.P.I.T. Messina 

Messina: Monte di Pietà

Later it was dominated by Aragoneses and Spanishes and flourished considerably its trade. In the XVII century Messina rebelled against the avidity of Spanish government and, once suppressed the revolt, the town began to decay and previous privileges were annulled and was instituted the "Cittadella". It was a war machine for protection of the town.

Messina was hit by the plague in 1743 and by an earthquake in 1783 which seriously damaged it. In 1847 and 1848 it took part to Risorgimento struggles. After the earthquake in 1908 the town was entirely destroyed but it was rebuilt changing completely its previous town-planning.

The most interesting monuments are the Cathedral of Norman period, restored in the last century; the bell-tower of it that has a famous astronomical clock. It was built in Strasbourg and was unveiled in 1933. Finally there are the Fountain of Orion built in 1547 and the Town Building.

Photo © Santuario S. Antonio 

Santuario S. Antonio

Among important persons original of Messina we cite: the famous painter Antonello from Messina (1430-1479), the astronomist Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-1679), the patriot Giuseppe La Farina (1815-1863), the europeanist Gaetano Martino (1900-1967) who was chancellor at the University of Rome and the Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia (1851-1927).

Borned as noble in Messina, he consecrated his life to assisting the poors and the children of the ill-famed neighbourhoods of the Messina.

He founded the "Figlie del Divino Zelo" and the "Rogazionisti del Cuore di Gesù" for missionary pourposes so to create new orphanages, schools, vocational institutes and much more.

He was buried in the "Tempio della Rogazione Evangelica del Cuore di Gesù e Santuario di Sant'Antonio". The same sanctuary was inaugurated by Padre Annibale on April, 4, 1926.

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