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Messina in Spring: Between History, Climate, and Religious Festivities

Spring is a magical season, where nature awakens and dresses in vibrant colors. In Messina, this season, with its fresh, gradually lengthening days, and the sun becoming more prominent, offers a unique opportunity to explore hidden places and lesser-known monuments, and to participate in cultural and religious events.

Spring FAI Days

On the occasion of the Spring Days organized by the FAI (Italian Environmental Fund), it will be possible to discover some gems of the city.

The FAI Delegation of Messina organizes guided tours to historical sites and monuments of great interest such as Santa Maria della Valle, Badiazza, Forte Gonzaga, Forte Castellaccio, Forte San Salvatore, the Lantern of Montorsoli, the Real Cittadella, the Crypt of the Cathedral, and Villa Pace. These places, often forgotten, tell the story of Messina and deserve to be rediscovered.

Discover the places to visit in Messina this spring on the official FAI website.

Easter and local traditions

And in the heart of spring, there is Easter.

Easter is always a special time in Messina, when the city comes alive with religious festivities, age-old traditions, and a vibrant atmosphere.

During Easter, one of the most beloved traditions in Messina is the Procession of the “Barette.” These groupings of statues, carried on the shoulders of the faithful, depict scenes from the Passion of Christ. The “Barette” are an artistic and cultural heritage of the city and a symbol of faith and devotion. During the procession, marching bands and typical characters, such as the “Babbaluci,” “Maddalene,” “Biancuzze,” and “Tamburini,” move through the streets, creating an engaging and evocative atmosphere.

This year, on March 31st, there will be the traveling Via Crucis starting from the church “Nuovo Oratorio della Pace” on via XXIV Maggio and concluding at the Montevergine Monastery. This moment of prayer and reflection through the city streets is a way to commemorate the Passion of Christ and involve the community.

During Holy Week, Messina also hosts a series of religious events, including the “Messa in Coena Domini” and Eucharistic adoration until midnight on April 6th. Churches and monasteries open their doors to welcome the faithful and celebrate together. It’s a moment of spirituality and sharing that involves the whole city.

In conclusion, in spring, the city prepares to bloom and offer its residents and visitors a variety of unique experiences. Whether you’re interested in history, climate, or events, Messina has something to offer everyone, and Le Stanze is ready to welcome you.

Carnevale a Messina e dintorni

Carnival in Messina and Surroundings: Celebration, Tradition, and Taste!

The tradition of Carnival in Sicily is very ancient, featuring masks, parades, allegorical floats, and typical sweets. It’s yet another reason to visit the island and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, amidst a riot of colors, joy, and masks.

Here are some interesting ideas for celebrating Carnival 2024 in Messina and visiting the most appreciated historical carnivals in the province.

In Messina, the three-day event begins on Saturday, February 10th, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM and from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Piazza Cairoli with a flower display, while at 4:00 PM at Villa Dante, there will be entertainment for children with costumes and masks.

On Sunday, February 11th, starting at 4:00 PM, along the pedestrian island of Viale San Martino, you can witness a parade of masked groups, with animation performances by Latin Chic.

The parade continues on Tuesday, February 13th, also starting at 4:00 PM, and at the end of the evening, there will be an award ceremony for the masked groups at Piazza Cairoli, with entertainment and music.

In Cattafi, in the heart of the province of Messina, on February 11th, one of the oldest carnivals in Sicily takes place: the “Scacciuni”, with long cone-shaped hair, colorful clothes with a skirt, and a myriad of colored ribbons, parade in masks to reenact the expulsion of Saracen pirates by the old inhabitants.

In the small medieval village of Saponara at the foot of the Peloritani Mountains, on February 13th, Carnival is celebrated with the historical reenactment of the centuries-old Pantomime of the Bear and the princely court. The origins are linked to a legend that tells of a giant bear that terrorized the population in the 18th century. When Prince Alliata and his hunters managed to capture the bear, to celebrate the event, the bear was paraded in chains through the streets of the city as a trophy, followed by the hunters and his court.

In Santa Teresa di Riva, the carnival of the Ionian returns. Six allegorical floats and four masked groups will parade along the main street of the Ionian town on Sunday, February 11th, and Tuesday, February 13th, starting at 2:30 PM.

In Santa Lucia del Mela, don’t miss the Historical Luciese Carnival, unique of its kind and listed in the Register of Intangible Heritage of the Sicilian Region.

The highlight of the Carnival will be on February 10th, 11th, and 13th.

During these three days, there will be the spectacular parade of “I lapi i Cannaluari” (motor scooters decorated as allegorical floats) that will travel through the city center and end in the central Piazza Milite Ignoto where, on the three days, various artists will perform and where, on Tuesday, February 13th, immediately after dancing, there will be room for the historical part of the Luciese carnival “U Catalettu”, which has its roots in very ancient times.

The historical reenactment of “U Catalettu” will conclude with the death of Carnival, who, because of his greed, will die from eating too many fraviole. Immediately after, Carnival, taken by the “babbaluci,” will be placed on the Cataletto present in a prepared room, and visitors will be able to witness the vigil up close. Besides the “babbaluci,” there will also be the “cianci morto” women.

After the vigil, the funeral of Carnival will begin, accompanied by the funeral band, starting from Piazza Milite Ignoto and returning through some adjacent streets.

Finally, everything will be ready in the square to start the burning of Carnival, accompanied by music and dances, and will end with the classic fireworks that will conclude the festive period. During the three evenings, you can also taste the classic dishes of the carnival tradition, such as macaroni and fraviole.

In short, there’s a celebration for everyone!

Carnival in Messina offers a mix of tradition, joy, and good food, and Le Stanze is ready to welcome you.

 

Winter holidays in Messina: what to do and see

Winter brings with it many trips, outings, and long weekends.

Many believe that Sicily should be excluded from the list of destinations for a winter getaway, and therefore Messina is not the ideal destination.

However, if you are considering spending your winter holidays in Messina, the city will surprise you, and there will be plenty of things to do and see. Here are some suggestions for your stay.

Outdoor Activities to Discover Natural Beauty

If you are looking for outdoor activities, January is a perfect month for hiking in nature. The weather is cool but not too cold, making it ideal for walking and enjoying the scenery.

Messina is surrounded by a landscape of rare beauty, offering the opportunity for hiking and outdoor activities.

The Peloritani Mountains rise just outside the city. Here, between the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, you can reach the summit of Monte Dinnammare, where a splendid sanctuary is located, surrounded by soaring birds of prey. Alternatively, you can visit the Valley of the Mills to admire the San Filippo Superiore Waterfall.

Further west, where the Peloritani end, the Nebrodi Mountains begin. In the transition from one to the other, you may come across the mysterious megaliths of Argimusco and the Rocca di Novara, nicknamed the “Matterhorn of Sicily” for its resemblance to the Alpine mountain.

For snow and winter sports enthusiasts, you can also ski on Mount Etna in winter, with a view of the sea, within the ski resorts of Nicolosi to the south and Piano Provenzana-Linguaglossa on the north side, just 100 km from Messina.

Visits to Museums and Historical Monuments

January is also a perfect time to visit the museums and historical monuments of Messina, as they are less crowded than other times of the year.

Little-known, the Regional Interdisciplinary Museum of Messina boasts an extensive collection of art and archaeology and is definitely worth a visit. The museum’s highlights include the polyptych of San Gregorio created by Antonello da Messina in 1473 and the paintings “Adoration of the Shepherds” and “Resurrection of Lazarus” created in the early 17th century by Caravaggio.

Among the must-see monuments is the imposing Cathedral of Messina. Built in the 12th century and rebuilt after the 1908 earthquake, it houses works by Antonello da Messina, Caravaggio, and Girolamo Alibrandi. Every day at noon, you can witness the spectacle of the Bell Tower, which houses the world’s largest astronomical clock, with its mechanical statues coming to life in a representation of the city’s sacred and civil history.

Staying near the Cathedral, you can admire the Fountain of Orion, a 16th-century work by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, a student of Michelangelo. The fountain represents the myth of Orion, the legendary founder of Messina, and the city’s four main rivers.

A jewel that you will undoubtedly photograph extensively is the Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani, a peculiar religious building built between the 11th and 12th centuries, probably on the remains of a temple of Neptune. Due to sinkings caused by earthquakes and fires over the centuries, the church is now about three meters below street level. The architecture is a mix of styles, with a prevailing Byzantine influence.

A visit to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montalto is a must, erected on the homonymous hill, offering a splendid panoramic view of the city and the Strait.

From here, you can also admire another important monument: the Madonna della Lettera, the symbol of the City of Messina and a testament to the indissoluble bond between Messina and the sea. It is a gilded bronze statue placed atop a votive stele visible at the entrance of the Port. The statue, the work of the artist Tore Calabrò, a native of Messina, depicts the Madonna with her arm raised in the act of blessing the ships entering and leaving.

If time allows, it is suggested to also take a look at the Church of Santa Maria degli Alemanni, the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi, the Monastery of Montevergine of the Clarisses of Santa Eustachia, and the Church of San Giovanni di Malta. Among the civil buildings, Palazzo Zanca (city hall), the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III, and the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà are certainly points of considerable interest.

Finally, you can visit the Vittorio Emanuele Theater in Messina, the largest theater in Sicily in terms of capacity, to appreciate its neoclassical facade adorned with reliefs and sculptural groups. If you are a fan of theater, music, and dance, check the schedule to see if there is anything of interest!

Whether you are a lover of outdoor activities or city visits, Le Stanze is ready to welcome you and provide useful suggestions to organize a delightful winter vacation.

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