a day in Messina

Old Sep 9, 17, 3:43 pm
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a day in Messina

my partner and I will be stopping for a day at Messina on a holland America cruise, and would like to venture out on or own and see Messina.all of the ships excursions see the "Godfather " towns or go to Taormina which we have been to already - beautiful but touristy.any ideas on what to do and where to sample the food in Messina itself ? I am of Sicilian ancestry, speak a little Italian. my family originated on the other side of the island but my grandmother always said how nice the Messinese were.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 9:10 pm
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Originally Posted by marbles dad View Post
my partner and I will be stopping for a day at Messina on a holland America cruise, and would like to venture out on or own and see Messina.all of the ships excursions see the "Godfather " towns or go to Taormina which we have been to already - beautiful but touristy.any ideas on what to do and where to sample the food in Messina itself ? I am of Sicilian ancestry, speak a little Italian. my family originated on the other side of the island but my grandmother always said how nice the Messinese were.
It's hard to come up with something based on this information. By, "a day," does that mean you can be up and out in a rental car at 7 AM, and go for a drive and get back at midnight that night? Or, does a day mean that you get off the cruise ship at 10 AM and have to be back onboard by 7PM to cruise to the next stop? If you really have a 24 hour day, some possibilities open up.

Messina is a large military, commercial, and cruise ship port. Like any city of about a quarter of a million people there are some places to see, and there will be some good restaurants. You can do the usual things like head to the Duomo, the Cathedral, the Bell Tower. How much time do you actually have?

Things like the Godfather tour are a joke. It's a tourist trap where they try to sell you T-shirts with a picture of Marlon Brando on it. They take you somewhere and say, "This is where Al Pacino stood during the scene where he shot Marco." Just go home and rent the movie. It has nothing to do with Italy, Sicily, the Mafia, or anything else.

My main experience with Messina is that I've taken the train there a few times. From Rome there is a train that goes to Sicily. When the train gets to the end of the land it goes onto a ferry boat and crosses the Messina Strait. On the Sicilian side it gets back on a track and takes you to the Central Station. There, I have wandered around before going to my final destination, which is never Messina. I don't think that too many people have Messina as a destination.

It's a cruise ship port. Cruise ships stop there because they can, because of the size of the port, not because that's where people want to go unless they are on business, or there to visit family. Arriving by cruise ship I don't see how you would have the time to go anywhere else, unless when you say you have a day, you actually mean a full 24 hours.

I recently read an article that said people who arrive in Venice by cruise ship only spend on average, six hours with feet-on-land in Venice. Most of the day is spent coming and going to the cruise ship. After those six hours the people claim that they have, "been to Venice" (and didn't like it).

How much time do you actually have, and what do you like to do? If you really have a day and can rent a car and head out early and you like the outdoors you can take a tour up Mt. Etna (weather and fires permitting). Without knowing more about your time constraints, it's a little hard to say.

Last edited by Perche; Sep 10, 17 at 5:41 pm
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Old Sep 10, 17, 1:07 pm
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thank you for your prompt reply. we are in the port of Messina on a Wednesday from 1pm- 10pm. we have already enjoyed our experience at mount Etna in a previous trip. The shore excursions from the ship all look pretty dismal. A short train trip from Messina is possible or seeing the sights and just experience the ambience and practicing my Sicilian.
we don't usually do cruises, but this one gives the chance to see many different places I wouldn't normally get to see in one trip. I noticed on google that there is some sort of tram to the center of town.
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Old Sep 10, 17, 4:06 pm
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You really don't have time. If you dock at 1:00PM you won't get to the city center until around 2:00 PM. That's around the time of the last seating for lunch. To not cut it close you'll have to head back to the ship around 8:00 PM, and restaurants don't open for dinner until 7:30 or 8:00.

Tram is sort of a mistranslation of Tranvia by Google. It's just an above ground bus on a rail, like they have in Boston and San Francisco, and you can take it to downtown to wander around.
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Old Sep 10, 17, 5:17 pm
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Don't forget that Messina was completely destroyed some 100 years ago by an earthquake that killed almost half of the people living there. Don't expect, therefore, a beautiful city like Catania. I've been there twice and, honestly, I don't really remember anything... worth remembering

Last edited by KLouis; Sep 10, 17 at 11:41 pm
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Old Sep 10, 17, 5:40 pm
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Originally Posted by marbles dad View Post
we don't usually do cruises, but this one gives the chance to see many different places I wouldn't normally get to see in one trip.
That is the downside of traveling by cruise ship. You go to many places, but don't get to see any of them. When the cruise is over you will just have had a series of half day layovers, none of which constitute a visit to any place.

Last edited by Perche; Sep 12, 17 at 1:17 am
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Old Sep 11, 17, 2:31 pm
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thank you everyone for your help.I do mostly non crs uise travel but we are going with a group of friends celebrating a special occasion. I enjoy staying in one place and getting to know the people as you do . I will ask your advice in future as I can't get enough of Italy
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