We visited Messina via a cruise ship (Princess) on a Sunday. We were supposed to be on an all-day tour of Mt. Etna with a stop in Taormina but the tour was canceled the day before because of heavy snow on Mt. Etna. Instead we took a 1/2 day morning tour of Taormina with plans to visit the Cathedral of Messina (Duomo), Bell Tower and Astronomical Clock (Orologio Astronomico), and several attractions within walking distance of the port area that afternoon. We were surprised to find everything but a couple of shops closed. We enjoy touring European cathedrals/churches and the Cathedral of Messina (Duomo) looked interesting from the outside but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to go inside. The cathedral was reconstructed after a 1908 earthquake, yet its exterior retains its medieval lines. The façade features three 16th century entry doors and a 180-foot tall bell tower that holds the world's largest Astronomical Clock (Orologio Astronomico). The clock's mechanical figures come to life every quarter hour, but the grand display occurs every day at the strike of twelve noon, which of course we missed. If your cruise ship is in Messina on a Sunday take an all-day arranged tour that the ship or an independent tour operator offers. Maybe they will be able to find attractions in the area that are open.
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