Italy
Province of Messina

Here you’ll find travel reports about Province of Messina. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

95 travelers at this place:

  • Day240

    Taormina

    February 21, 2017 in Italy

    As a day trip from Giardini Naxos, we took the bus to the beautiful hillside town of Taormina. The journey was an experience all in itself, with the coach driver gesticulating wildly with one hand as he held a high volume animated conversation with a passenger. He rattled through narrow spaces we'd have been nervous driving the van through and swung round switchback bends with sheer drops to the side. It was when he placed his i pad on the steering wheel and started typing away with his other hand that we really began to feel nervous!

    As we climbed we were treated to incredible views of snowtopped Mount Etna rising up from the vast blue sea below. After 20 minutes we pulled into the small bus station, checked the return times and set off up the hill to the old town. Passing by the two armed miltary personel and under the archway, we progressed up the cobbled streets towards Teatro Greco, a 1800 year old Greek Ampitheatre at the top of the hill.

    We bought our €10 entry tickets and started up the stone steps as green speckled lizards scuttled accross our path and up the walls. The teatro itself was pretty cool with staging, stone pillars and tunnels, but the view of Mount Etna just 20miles away and the coastline below was jaw dropping. We were incredibly lucky to visit on such a clear day and feel we got the best out of the site.

    After perusing the display of ancient stone tablets and a small sarcophagus, we went in search of food in town. We didn't want much, so we decided on a place called Piliere that was giving out flyers in the street and whose prices seemed reasonable. In short, we wish we hadn't! Climbing up to the 2nd floor we chose to sit on the balcony, only to be covered with flaking plaster and paint from the wall that acted as a backrest. Vicky had a salad but the Iceberg lettuce lived up to its name a little too much with the ice crystals it had on it. The upside to the experience was meeting a Canadian couple who were on an 8 month tour. We chatted away and each told of our favourite places in the world and our plans for future travel.
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  • Day238

    Giardini Naxos, Sicily

    February 19, 2017 in Italy

    We were so excited; today was the day we were going to Sicily! However the mood was somewhat dampened by a super stressful drive, where we initially found ourselves trapped on the seaward side of the railtracks by low bridges, then found ourselves holding our breath as we squeezed past lines of parked cars with oncoming traffic giving us only inches to spare. One car was even driving with their wing mirror already tucked in!

    Arriving at the ferry port, the system was very relaxed. We chose a line to park up in and eventually found the small sign telling us which building was the ticket office. There were no advertised departure times but when asked, the attendant said it would be 'about an hour'.

    The ferry itself was the most juddery we'd been on, but the Straights of Messina were quite a challenging course to sail. Homer's Odesey describes Odyseus' journey between the rock of Scylla and the Charybdis whirlpool. Vicky had her eyes peeled for the whirlpool but it was nowhere to be seen.

    Arriving on the island south of Messina, we exited the port via a road that appeared to have been designed like a whirlpool. It was disappointing to see there was just as much litter here as on the mainland. We crossed large stony river beds where rubbish had been strewn. Stopping at traffic lights, we saw a beggar making his way between the cars with a sign around his neck saying he and his 3 children were hungry. Taking the coast road south, the area was urban. The buildings that weren't for tourists were dirty and run down with flaking paint, plaster and rusted iron railings around their small balconies. After a while, the filth and squalor wears you down and it was beginning to get that way with us. Goodness knows what the people living day in, day out in these conditions must feel like.

    On the up side, there were verdant green hills rising steeply, inland of the developed strip and dark shingle beaches to the seaward side. Wooden fishing boats sat without trailers in car parking spaces and on the pavement. As we passd through tourist areas, the roads were cleaner and the bins were emptied regularly. It was nicer to look at but the inequality was stark.

    In Giardini Naxos there were several campsites very close together. We chose Lagani, the one in the middle. Upon pulling in we immediately got a strong community feel. The place offered discounts on stays over a month and there were several long timers. The site manager wasn't around but a camper encouraged us to explore while he phoned him. The place was immaculate and interestingly we saw two vans with GB plates; the first we'd seen since November. We decided to stay three nights and took a wander down the hill to the beach. It was built up and had a lot of tourist restaurants and attractions, including a gelateria, where we had our first ice creams in Italy.

    The next day Vicky logged on to Facebook and checked the posts of the Grey Gappers, David and Karen, who were blogging about touring in their van. They'd recently been on Sicily and Vicky wanted to check out their experiences. About an hour later, Will got chatting with both couples from the GB vans and returned with the Grey Gappers' card- they were two vans up! We returned together and introductions were made between ourselves, the Grey Gappers and David and Tosca, who had two beautiful dogs, Lexi the Rottweiler and Wiley the Doberman.

    Over the next 2 days we got to know each other, shared travelling experiences and our favourite stopovers. Vicky got to do yoga in the garden shaded with palm trees, we bought oranges from the orange delivery van and Will picked prickly pears when taking the riverside route to the beach. He brought them back to the van and much to our dismay we discovered why they were called 'prickly'! Once processed, the juice was nice enough to drink but Vicky banned any more foraging.

    We discovered on the second day that we could see the snow topped Mount Etna over the river behind the site - how exciting! We watched the steam and smoke rising above it and were at just the right position to witness the sun set into its crater, something which made us feel very privileged.

    Time seemed to fly by but on the last night we arranged a GB get together which was really enjoyable even though Will over did the vino. We were all different people from different walks of life, but the way of life we had in common meant we had plenty to chat about.
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  • Day262

    Tonnarella campsite, Funari

    March 15, 2017 in Italy

    Leaving Caronia, we kept to the coast and travelled east. As we drew nearer the large port of Messina, the towns became increasingly commercialised, having not only the shops of need like the bakery, grocer and hardware stores, but shops for wants like home decoration, presents, clothes and nik naks. The journey was going alright until the coast road ahead was closed. Unlike in Germany, where diversions are signed, Italian road closures just leave you to get on with it. Unfortunately in this case, the alternate route we found took us up into mountains that flanked the sea. We climbed 500m over a distance of 5km and after taking in some stunning views from the ridge, started a descent which was to prove the most difficult hill drive we've encountered. The road had reduced to a single track and when we came to some of the hairpin bends there wasn't enough space to turn the 7m long van. Will needed to do a three point turn on a steeply cambered road with a gradient of about 15% in order to continue down hill. On three consecutive bends!

    Breathing a sigh of relief upon rejoining the coast road, we eventually came to Tonnarella campsite. Through a tight front entrance there was a large area of gravel looking out on to the sea with a cement slick path leading down to the small grey sand beach. Huge concrete blocks deposited in such a way that they formed groynes, separated the beach and made it so the section in front of the site was quite private.

    Nobody was to be seen when we arrived, so we parked up and the owner came by in his car after a few hours. He told us it was €15 a night and showed us round. We had been looking for wool for quite some time so when he told us there was a pizzarria and gelaterria down the road, Vicky asked if there was a wool shop nearby. He had a think and told us there were two in the town about 4km away. He thought again, then said that as he was going in this evening, would Vicky like to accompany him in his car? A bit taken aback, Vicky accepted and was picked up just before 7pm. Cadmael as he was called, chatted all the way in to town and it was great for Vicky to be able to chat back (all in Italian). She didn't understand everything but he was patient in finding different ways of saying things and Vicky managed to make herself understood. Cadmael delivered her to the wool shop and stood outside talking with a friend he had met while she went in and explained what she needed. The assistant was very helpful and keen to talk about how, in times gone by everyone knitted, but that the young were only interested in computer games now. After waiting in the car (with the keys in the ignition) while Cadmael visited a few of his friends, Vicky was dropped off back at the van with the two balls of wool she had been looking for.

    It was an incredible feeling to have been able to hold such long conversations with two different people in Italian. Knowing a little of the language has definitely enhanced our experience!

    Wifi was included in the price of our stay and we were able to rig up our Motorhome Wifi Booster and catch up with family via video chat. We really enjoyed being able to see people, albeit on a computer screen.

    The next morning, Vicky thanked Cadmael once again for his help and he brushed it off, saying with pride that he was Sicilian, part of a community and that is how things are done, if someone needs help, they help. It was so nice to see nationalist pride in this positive light!
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  • Day260

    We decided to take a slightly longer route through Parco delle Madonie and soak in the sights of Spring. With the backdrop of a mountain on which the snow was now melting and exposing the lines of relief, we passed through hill farms with many heavily pregnant sheep and a few new born lambs. We plan to spend only a few more days on Sicily before heading up the West coast of Italy, where we expect a lot of tourist orientated development. With this in mind we appreciated these natural sights all the more.

    The town of Cefalù provided a stopover so we made a beeline for it. From a distance, the town's situation looked alluring, its old stone houses wedged between the sea and a cliff that extended into the bay. Up close however, the streets were packed. Parked cars lined the roads on both sides and activity buzzed all around us, to the extent we just couldn't envisage a relaxing stay, so we turned around and headed for the next place.

    Out to sea there were hazy views of three of the Lipari volcano islands, their grey outlines almost indistinguishable on the distant horizon. Caronia stopover promised a place to park by the sea. Unfortunately the access road had been a bit too close to the sea and had collapsed in to it. Plastic orange netting prevented us from going any further but we did find an empty car park set further back into the village with a view of the sea. It was a quiet spot and we decided to stay two nights. On the first evening we went for a passegiata and Will had a coffee for 80 cents at the local café. Vicky had hoped for an ice cream but none could be found.

    The next day was Poppy's 14th birthday. She couldn't have any special foods because they tend to upset her tummy, but we hand fed her normal meals. Vicky finished sewing a new cover for her bed and took her out for a Pilates session while Will went for a swim. Given her previous poor health we didn't dare hope that she'd be with us when we set off on this trip, never mind be here and happily enjoying everyday life 8 months down the line! Needless to say we are very glad she is!

    There was a restaurant 500m along the main street and wanting to pay the local economy back for a free stay, we visited it for lunch. Being out of high season, much of the seafood menu wasn't available, but we ordered spaghetti with mussels and fusilli with swordfish and aubergine. Sitting at a table outside on the seafront we sipped wine while waiting for the food. When it came, the plates were huge and the meals delicious. It was so nice to be able to sit out in the sunshine with the sea just meters away; we had to pinch ourselves to check it wasn't a dream! Finishing off with limoncellos and a coffee, the whole thing came in at only €27!

    We noticed a poster in the restaurant that advertised a campaign to get drinkable water in local people's homes. Will had met someone by the communal drinking tap earlier in the day who was filling bottles. He had encouraged Will to drink and fill the van and mentioned about the water in the houses not being fit for drinking. Just before leaving we popped into the hardware shop whose owner had grown up in Hertfordshire. He said the the weather and views were nice in Sicily, but that it 'had its problems'.
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  • Day51

    Messina

    October 19 in Italy

    Well everything I’ve read about public transport in Sicily is true - nothing runs on time and most services get cancelled. But I thought I could plan my way around that. Unfortunately not to be.

    When researching how to get to Sicily I read we could get a ferry direct from Reggio Calabria so that is where I organised for us to drop our hire car off at. Thankfully the lady at Europcar mentioned that the ferries weren’t operating from Reggio Calabria port so we didn’t waste time and money getting there only to discover that. Instead we had to get a taxi to Villa San Giovanni, a €40 trip. We managed to get straight onto a ferry to Messina but I think that was the only easy part of the day.

    When planning the trip google maps had the distance from the ferry port to the train station as a short walk, when in fact it was going to be about a 40min walk. Luckily for a us a lady took pity on us and offered to drive us to the train station herself. Funny thing was she didn’t speak a word of English, and I mean not a word, but we (meaning I) happily jumped in her car and trusted she would get us there. Brad was a bit more apprehensive, he was thinking along the lines of serial killer. I was even able to use my valuable Italian lessons. Lol. Not really. I barely managed to introduce myself. Anyway my trust in her was fulfilled and she happily dropped us at the train station. She restored my faith in people.

    Next step in getting to Taormina, our destination for today, was to catch a train. Google and the train sites said trains leave every half hour. And how gullible was I to believe that. We had about an hour and a half wait and then had to cross our fingers it wasn’t delayed or cancelled like the earlier two trains. It eventually arrived and we finally made it to Taormina, only to discover a shortage of taxis. Another long wait but finally we made it to our accommodation for the next two days. Very weary and regretting adding Sicily to our trip, we hope our day tomorrow makes this long travel day worthwhile.
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  • Day52

    Taormina

    October 20 in Italy

    After a late check-in and a night of rain and bad weather forecasts, we woke to a beautiful sunny day. A hurricane had hit Sicily two days before we arrived and the weather forecast hasn't looked good but for some reason the forecasts seem to be wrong as we always end up with sunny days. Very lucky. I really wasn't sure what to expect from Taormina after our arrival last night and have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.

    After a delicious breakfast on the terrace overlooking the bay, we hit the streets and started touring. First stop was the ancient Roman Amphitheatre - more on that shortly. After the theatre we decided to just wander and explore the town. By now we have seen a lot of "tourist" towns and while Taormina had the usual tourist shops, there was also a lot of variety and some pretty cool things to see. If only we lived a lot closer and didn't have to worry about excess luggage. I would have bought so much. There was a nice feel about Taormina and it was a pity we didn't have a bit more time here to explore a bit more.

    We found our way down to the main square, we had no idea how big the town was, and got to enjoy the view, check out some of the old churches and buildings, and listen to some Sicilian buskers. A very pleasant afternoon. There were lots of cool restaurants and cafes tucked away in the alleyways and we found a lovely one to stop and have a light lunch. We had enjoyed a very delicious Arancini ball on the ferry on the way over and had discovered they were a staple in Sicily and we wanted more. Lunch was an aracini ball and a glass or two of local wine. We also happened to start chatting to a couple sat next to us and had a lovely time exchanging stories and getting some gossip on some stars from a tv show we watch as they knew the cast members. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

    We ended our day in Taormina with a delicious Sicilian dinner at Bella Blu, a great restaurant overlooking the ocean. I love that we get given a shot when we pay the bill at the end of the night. Tonight's shot was a lemon vodka slushie and it was delicious, except for the brain freeze that followed from drinking it so quickly. Another great night with great food and company. Thankfully Brad and I aren't sick of each other yet.
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  • Day52

    Taormina's Treasures

    October 20 in Italy

    Okay, so these aren't officially treasures of Taormina but these are things I loved about this town. Even though a lot of the buildings looked a little worse for wear and a bit run down, almost every balcony and alleyway was decorated with some form of ceramic statue or planter. And I just loved it. I loved the colours and vibrancy these pieces added to the town and I just wish I could replicate some of these settings at home. For that reason alone, it needed it's own post.

    One of the figures we saw everywhere was the three legged lady. This is called Trinacria which means triquetra and refers to the shape of the island of Sicily. Sicily was known by the Romans as Trinacrium, meaning “star with three points”. The Trinacria symbol is the head of Medusa (a gorgon with a head of snakes), surrounded by three bent running legs, and three stalks of wheat. Due to the island's distinct triangular shape, the symbol has also been adopted by the Sicilian government and is located on the centre of Sicily's flag.

    #colourislife
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  • Day52

    Teatro Antico di Taormina

    October 20 in Italy

    First stop for today was Teatro Antico di Taormine, the Ancient theatre of Taormina. The Teatro antico di Taormina is an ancient Greek theatre built in the third century BC. It is built for the most part of brick, and is therefore probably of Roman date, though the plan and arrangement are in accordance with those of Greek, rather than Roman, theatres. It is believed that the present structure was rebuilt upon the foundations of an older theatre of the Greek period.

    With a diameter of 120 metres (after an expansion in the 2nd century), this theatre is the second largest of its kind in Sicily and is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances and for concerts. The greater part of the original seats have disappeared, but the wall which surrounded the whole arena is preserved.

    The view from here was amazing and added to the pleasure of visiting this site. It is still so hard to fathom that we are standing in something that was built so long ago.
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  • Day42

    Taormina

    September 11 in Italy

    Mein letzter Stop in Sirakrus mit der besten Meeresfrüchtepizza aller Zeiten hat mir gut gefallen. Taormina, wo ich jetzt bin finde ich aber nochmal schöner. Hier bin ich drei Nächte geblieben und konnte einen Ausflug zum Ätna machen. Wir haben alte Lavakrater besucht und eine Höhle in einem Lavastrom in der früher Eis gelagert wurde. Dann sind wir zu einem Weingut gefahren wo es ein Menu mit drei Weinen vom Ätna gab. Anschliessend waren alle. Tourteilnehmer etwas müde 😁. Die letzte Station war ein Flussbett mit Lava-Gesteinsformationen ähnlich denen in England. Leider war der Ort sehr touristisch aber trotzdem beeindruckend. Die Vulkanische Landschaft war wunderschön, da muss ich definitiv wieder hin mit mehr Zeit zum Zeichnen und Fotografieren. Die Farben der Pflanzen vor der schwarzen Lava, wow! Und schön kühl wars, hat mich an den Norden erinnert mit Kiefernwäldern und Birken. Zum Glück geht es weiter mit den Vulkanen. Meine nächste Station ist Stromboli. Da fahre ich heute mit der Fähre hin.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Messina, Provinz Messina, Province of Messina, Provincia de Mecina, مقاطعة مسينة, Provincia de Messina, Месина, མེ་སི་ན།, Proviñs Messina, Província de Messina, Provincie Messina, Μεσσίνα, Provinco de Mesino, Provincia de Mesina, Messina provints, Messinako probintzia, استان مسینا, Messinan maakunta, Messine, מסינה, Messina megye, Provinsi Messina, メッシーナ県, მესინის პროვინცია, 메시나 현, Provincia Messanensis, Provinsia de Mesina, Pruvincia de Messina, Mesinos provincija, Mesīnas province, Wilayah Messina, Messina Séng, Provinsen Messina, Prowincja Mesyna, Provincia ëd Messin-a, ضلع مسینا, Provincia Messina, Мессина, Provìntzia de Messina, Pruvincia di Missina, Province o Messina, Messina ili, Мессіна, صوبہ میسینا, 墨西拿省

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