Wednesday 4 January 2023

How to spend a day in Messina, Italy

I've decided it's high time to finally finish off all the cruise content I had planned when I returned from my recent(ish) cruise - but life well & truly got in the way, so it's taken a backseat for a while. With that being said, I thought I'd share what we got up to during our day docked at Messina...

The ship docks literally in the most central place imaginable; one of the most well-recommended things to see in Messina itself is the astronomical clock at the cathedral, and we could literally see this from our balcony. I absolutely LOVE an astronomical clock, and this is the first one I ever saw as a child so I was really excited to be back. We had breakfast and got ready at a leisurely pace, because the big event (aka the once daily display of the clock's beautiful mechanisms) doesn't kick off until midday.

We left the ship, then walked just a couple of minutes to the cathedral square. On the way we passed the famous Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing quote, and then we were in the square itself - it was full of people waiting for the show, and we snapped some photos while we waited. Once midday hit, we were treated to a gorgeous melody and fascinating display of mechanical genius. This astronomical clock is the biggest and most complex in the world, and the whole thing is a story: we see a carousel of the days of the week, each day represented by a 'classical deity', as well as another carousel of the ages of life. There are also biblical scenes, mythical characters and a roaring lion carrying the flag of Messina. It's an incredible sight to behold and one you cannot miss.

After it was over (the show takes around 10 minutes) we decided to go inside the clock tower itself and head up onto the roof. This cost us 4 euros per person, and was literally an amazing experience - it definitely enhances the show being able to see the characters and mechanisms from the other side. And once you get onto the roof itself the views are actually phenomenal. Like WOW. Breathtaking.

We came back down and my aunty decided to head back to the ship for some lunch and chill time; I on the other hand had decided I really wanted to see the Caravaggio paintings at the Regional Museum of Messina. It was around a 1-hour walk away, but the weather was so hot that I decided on the tram instead; the timetable didn't seem to matter, because I waited ages for one to arrive, but I got there in the end. I paid my museum entry fee, and in I went; there was so much beautiful artwork right throughout the museum, as well as a cut out floor section revealing ancient architecture underneath. And of course the stars of the show: the amazing Caravaggio paintings. They were HUGE and definitely worth the heat, the wait for the tram, and the 10 euro entry fee! Perfect if you want something different to do in Messina while docked here for the day.

All in all I had a lovely laidback day in Messina; the main excursions on offer when you cruise to Messina are the Godfather villages and Mount Etna. Neither of these *particularly* appealed to me and anyway, I wanted to see the clock again. But there are definitely some fab day trips available if you don't fancy a chilled out day of exploring...

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