We are on the Train bound for Taormina. It isn't very full, so we take a window seat where we can view the Ocean. We pass through suburbs, some of them not very good, gradually, we leave them behind and start passing countryside.
The Trainline, hugs the side of the Ocean most of the way, and we do have nice views, but nothing spectacular. The country looks dry and thirsty!
On the way back, we view the inland, and that wasn't much either!
Just a form of transport from A to B.
This Church had quite an impressive look! Inside, I thought was worth a quick visit, as there was a nice Marble Font, and some other decorative pieces.
It may be a little daunting going in, as either side of the entrance door, were two Beggar's wanting money.
I suggest that you walk to the square in front of Messina cathedral and watch the action with the moving figurines finishing with the sounding of a cock starting at 12.00pm sharp.This would be something interesting even for the kids.
One place to see a smoldering volcano and sometimes a very active one is on Sicily.
Mount Etna reigns supreme as the mover and shaker of Sicily. You can go to the base of the latest lave flows and even a restaurant and tourist shops will await you. Standing 10,991 feet high and considered the most documented volcano for eruptions in the world, Mount Etna is worth a visit, if no lava is flowing at the time of your visit.
To see some wonderful air photos of the Island of Sicily and the erupting Mount Etna, the written word is in Italian but the pictures are phenomenal, go to the website of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Volcanologia-Sezione di Catania by clicking the highlighted name or go to website listed below.
The Campanile has been much reworked but maintains its civic centrality and Norman design topped by 4 pinnacles, a central spire, and clocks.Wishing to make a strong religious and community statement, in 1933 Bishop Paino commissioned a Strasbourg firm to build an astronomical clock and automata on selected religious themes with tasteful architectural setting by F. Valenti in the oft rebuilt Tower. You can get a pictur pamphlet in the Church giving the details and symbolisms of the show which occurs only at Noon(daily). Do not forget to study the complex clock on the South wall of the tower.The sound effects are rather quaint for the 21C (the rooster sounds like its neck is being wrung!) and the Ave Maria must have been the background of a Caruso recording. The Tomb of Bishop Paino is prominently displayed in the Duomo. The Duimo, Campanile plus 2 August Religious and Folk processions and festivals have become fused into Messina's pride of survival and are vividly remembered by the transplanted natives I encounter in my home town!
After its 2nd destruction in WWII, the determined Messinians rebuilt the Duomo in the Romanesque style used by Roger II in 1160, incorporating as many original fragments as they could find and using original plans. An example of this are the horizontal bands along thr facade of carving and tilework. Be sure to examine them and try to figure them out!The doorway are 15-16C, and are Gothic in type. The restoration inside is also striking: the restored columns and wood ceiling and a silver 17C high altar with a 15C baldachin and a reproduced revered Virgin and Child backed by a restored Christ mosaic in the apse. Other treasures include a restored Montorsoli work, an Antonello Gagini (the most talented of the clan)"John the Baptist". Visit the interior before 12 so you can be in position for the Noon Campanile Show.
Messina is an elongated "sickle-shaped" city and the museum is in its northern section, We found parking among the residents north of the museum.The muuseum is in a beautifully restoed building with fine grounds and a courtyard that have scattered archeological pieces decoratively placed. The art collection is locally derived witha few superb items by such as Antonello (of course!) and Caravaggio (who hid out here) Regrettably they did not permit camera of any sort and did not have books or cards for sale.We expected to hve a minimal visit but it turned out thaat thebeautiful people (i.e. rich) of Messina were having a gala and they stayed open for them(we were not dressed for the occasion but we looked foreign and elderly so-- (the attendants snickered to us about it). Since I have no picture I include a view of the sickle coastline of the city(The museum is one block inland).
Bernard Berenson calls this the finest fountain in Italy. Finished in1547, it is Montorsoli's masterpiece. He was a Florentine and a disciple of Michelangelo. He cut his eye-teeth doing some of the figures and the dirty work on the Medici Chapels with the Master. The fountain employs all types of Michelangelesque devices without Mannerism, a restraint the headman abandoned.There is an explanatory sign nearby. Read some of it and go back and forth looking and then seeing. Unfortunately I could find no illustrated booklet on it. It is hard to decipher the videos I took but the work is very fine. Montorsoli then did much of the Neptune Fountain but damage and other less talented additions make it hard to tell what is his. But it is big.
From June to August/September you might want to spend some fresh nights assisting at theatre/music/opera performances in Taormina. There is for any kind of taste, many in the charming environment of the Greek Theatre.
Suggestion: get tickets very in advance
The church of the "Annunziata dei Catalani" stands on one of the most historically important sites of the Straits. Nearby, there was once the Byzantine shipyard, guarded by the fortress of Castellamare. The church was built between 1150 and 1200 on the remains of a pagan temple dedicated to Neptune. It is an interesting example of how various architectural styles were added to a late Byzantine construction typical of those built by the Basilian Order of monks. The blind loggias and the play of colour created by the exterior stonework, along with the two-tone arches of the interior and the elongated layout of the church, are all indications of Islamic and Byzantine influence, and also reflect contemporary architecture on mainland Italy.The original lenght of the naves was almost double their present length: they were shortened and the facade was redone following a flood in the Middle Ages, wich caused the front section of the church to collapse. The church has been known by the name "Catalani" ever since the 16th century, when the senate of Messina gave it to the powerful guild of the Catalan merchants. The guild made it their headquarters and placed the coats of arms of Catalonia on the main entrance. The great difference in height between the ground level of the church and that of the surrounding streets and buildings is due to the piles of rubble caused by the eartquake of 1908, which were later levelled for reconstruction.
In a place called Mortelle, a few kilometres from Messina you can find seaside resorts. The inhabitants of Messina love to spend their summer vacations there.
These resorts provide many services from beach activities to restaraunts so that people can spend long periods of time whithout having to worry about anyting before a unique scenary of the Strait Messina.
The most known they are:
Lido di Mortelle
Lido del Tirreno
Lido Spiaggia d'Oro
The Messina Regional Museum preserves precious testimonies of the city's artistic production from over the centuries. Its collections include works both from the collections of the destroyed Museo Civico Peloritano, and from the religious and civic buildings destroyed by the catastrophic earthquake in 1908.
The exhibits are arranged according in chronological order from the 12th to the 18th centuries, over 12 rooms on the ground floor and 3 display areas on the 1st floor, and include important architectural fragments, mosaics, sculpture and examples of decorative arts.
The itinerary starts with material from the Norman period, a moment of great glory for the city, whose port represented a stopover point of great strategic importance on Mediterranean shipping routes. The exhibts here, like most of the works in the first rooms, show signs of the vast range of influences absorbed from a wide variety of contemporary national and international artistic currents. This cultural background contributed to the formation of the great Antonello, who absorbed these experiences, reordered them and brought them together in a vision that was entirely Renaissance.
The modest figurative culture of Antonello's followers was supplanted, in the early 1500s, by the great Renaissance renewal, represented by G.Alibrandi and the Gagini family. These is turn were succeeded by the mannerist Polidoro and Montorsoli, who influenced local art for the whole of the century, up to the Counter-Reformation. This style of art was definitively swept away by the great event of the arrival of Caravaggio, destined to influence a great part of subsequent art.
On the first floor there are numerous other artefacts in gold and silver, fabric, ivory, and majolica, which bear withnes to the lively creativity of the silversmiths and of local craftsmanship in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The aquarium of Messina was built in the late 50's by the Istituto Talassografico of the CNR in the interior of the Mazzini Villa.
In 1986 it was donated to the City Hall. In houses many different varietes of fish and Invertibrates among the guest are the "diafona ciona" part of the Tunicatus family, the condrosie that are sponges of various color.
On the Antozoi family are the brown sea anemones and the red sea tomato, also there are some species of Horny Coral that form species tree-like columns. The marine Anellidi are represented by the spirograph, and by the sabella pavonina, among the Echinodermata, are the starfish and the sea urchins.
In addition to the species above, the aquarium is also home to the cat fish, that live entirely under the sand, electric eels, octopus, the pacific shark, that feeds on small prey, dursky perch, sea-bass, perch, au from tropical seas.
Very numerous in the family on the Labridi among which the olive green tordo, the zingarelle of various colors, depending on the sex, the donzella pavonina from the Red Sea area, and San Pietro fish. One of the most curious guests is the pappagallo fish, the only Scaride present in the mediterranean.
On the whole, the museum houses 60 ittiche species that are fed fish, crustaceans, molluscs. They are housed in 22 mediterranean tanks and 8 aquarium that reproduce aquatic environments, of the worl, lit by natural light and alternated by artificial light.
On 15th August, the image of Crist supporting his mother in the palm of his hand, and raising her to Heaven, is borne on top of a massive coneshaped "machine", designed in the structure of the universe: from the world up to heavens, with the angelic hierarchies in between. Local people from all social backgrounds and from all over the city drag "la Vara" ( the name, meaning "coffin", derives from the small glass casket holding the figure of the mortal body of the Virgin, at the base of the machine) by long tow-ropes, whilst singing hymns to Mary.
Progress is slow and difficult, since the entire construction runs, on only rudimentary iron slides.
The celebrations for the Assunta without doubt attract the greatest number of Messinesi and visitors from both near and far, partly because the procession includes the famous gigants. These are two aspects of a single celebration which is rooted in the distant past. The festive floats of Messina have been famous since they were built in the 16th century. When Charles V arrived in Messina in 1535 on his way back from his african victory, he was amazed by the devotional floats. Don Giovanni of Austria felt the same emotion when, in 1571, he weighed anchor from Messina with a large Christian fleet to carry out a resounding victory over the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto. The float scenographically represents the theme of the Virgin’s Assumption into Heaven with a pyramid structure. In the lower part, the socalled “Dormitio Virginis” is represented, while Jesus Christ is shown on the top delivering the Virgin’s soul into Heaven. The clouds on top represent the “seven heavens”, that is, the exaltation of the float’s theme. This concept is reinforced by the presence of the sun, the moon, and little angels