Messina (Sicily), Ý
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Just three miles off the coast of southern Italy`s mainland is the port town of Messina on the island of Sicily. This bustling town has a complex history with roots in Greek mythology but, because of an earthquake in the early 1900s, it`s a relatively young city architecturally.


Don`t Miss
For a show unlike any you`ve seen before, check out the world`s largest astronomical clock, Orologio Astronomico, in the Piazza del Duomo. It`s set in a 197-foot bell tower and when the clock strikes noon, it comes to life. As Ave Maria begins playing from a loudspeaker, the bronze mechanical figures start to move. A lion roars, a bird flaps its wings, and two historical heroines take turns ringing the bell, all before it ends with a statue of Jesus appearing from a tomb.

Fun Things to Do
- Take a walk through the Duomo, the town`s main cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo. Although most of it has been refurbished in recent years, it has retained some of the original Norman-style features from 1160, when it was built by the Holy Roman emperor Henry VI.

- Make a wish in the Fontana di Orione in the center of the piazza. The pre-baroque-style fountain was built to commemorate Messina`s aqueduct and symbolizes the four rivers, Tiber, Nile, Ebore and Camaro.

- Spend some time in the Museo Regionale. Here you`ll find an amazing collection of art rescued from the 1908 earthquake, including pieces dating back to the 13th century.

Local Flavours
For a taste of traditional Sicilian cuisine, look for eggplant caponata - a stew of tomatoes, eggplant, capers and olives - typically served in restaurants as an antipasto. Rice balls, or arancini di riso, are also very common and can be found in many restaurants and at sidewalk stands. For dessert, try a slice of Sicilian cassata cake, a square sponge cake covered with ricotta cheese frosting, maraschino liqueur, candied fruit and nuts.

Currency
The Euro (EUR), the currency of the European Union, is the official currency of Italy. Many stores and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate. When shopping, remember there is a Value-Added Tax added to most purchases.