A sickle shaped harbour and a stone’s throw from the toe of Italy, Messina, Sicily, dates back 750 years before the birth of Christ. It was settled by the Greeks who turned Messina into a thriving post because of its natural safe-water harbour. Later the Romans also recognised Messina’s strategic importance. The Normans also regarded Messina as a vital port and stronghold. During the early middle ages, the Crusades to the Holy Land often departed from the port of Messina. It is said that Richard the Lionheart launched one of his three crusades from the port of Messina.
Often visitors to Sicily pass straight through Messina and miss out on some fascinating sites including a wonderfully reconstructed Norman cathedral and the Church of Santa Maria Alemanna which is near the railway station. Saint Mary of the Germans was built in the late 12th century and was attended by Germans who resided in Messina when Frederick II von Hohenstaufen was on the Sicilian throne. A genuine Gothic church, it is one of a few original churches that dates from that time in Sicily.
The Abbey of Santa Maria della Valle is another fine genuinely Gothic church that is built outside of Messina and is surrounded by ancient stone streets. For the thirsty and hungry, Messina has some delightful restaurants near the port and in the heart of the city there are several pizzerias and more expensive restaurants.
Messina is a city which is also a Port, on the Eastern sea-board of Sicily. You cannot really buy property or real estate any closer to mainland Italy, without actually buying on the mainland. This town has many affordable properties and it is still within reasonable driving distance of Catania airport. Messina also has its own train station in the centre and the ferry which contacts Sicily with the foot of the Italian mainland, makes this a popular travel route for traffic between Sicily and the rest of Italy. In terms of property and real estate investment, this location is a fairly laid back place and will suit those of you looking for a fairly quaint and peaceful location, but with a true Sicilian lifestyle.
Messina is actually the 3rd largest city on the island of Sicily, Italy and its also has a team who were in Serie A in the 2005-2006 season although the have been relegated since then. The population is about 275.000 in the main city; although about 550.000 in the greater metropolitan area.
Prices here tend to be cheaper than Catania and Taormina, but you can still buy a Villa, apartment or house near to the Messina Strait sea – and enjoy fresh fish daily, and plenty of sunshine. If the Messina Bridge is ever built, Messina property and real estate prices could shoot up. Messina Bridge looks unlikely to be built though, any time soon. This bridge in the past has been proposed to directly contact Sicily and the mainland by road Concerns of environmental issues and funding have delayed the project to the point that it looks increasingly unlikely to happen in the next 10 years. If it is ever built though, it could rejuvenate the area of Messina and potentially be a positive for property prices.