The city of Messina

The origins of Messina go back to at least 730 B.C. After the Romans conquered Sicily during the first Punic War in the 3rd century B.C., Messina played an important role as a seaport and trading town. During its long history, Messina has unluckily been harangued by a series of misfortunes: a terrible plague epidemic in the 18th century lead to the death of over 40,000 people; in 1783 an earthquake killed 12,000; and about 60,000 residents perished in an even worse earthquake in 1908. After the Second World War Messina had to be completely rebuilt as an American bomb attack had left the city in a haze of rubble and ashes.    

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Tourism in Messina

In spite of this, Messina still has a number of wonderful attractions. Very popular for example is the Fountain of Orion, built by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli in the 16th century. The fountain is decorated with a number of sculpted figures such as dolphins, Orion, the dog Sirius, maids and sirens, and also had to be rebuilt after World War Two. Visitors can observe a wonderful little spectacle around midday every day: a number of mechanic figures move around the belfry of the cathedral and portray stories from Messina’s history – a sight that shouldn’t be passed up by anybody.    

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