From the Strait of Messina to Your Family Tree

From the Strait of Messina to Your Family Tree: Unveiling Your Genealogical Heritage on a Mediterranean Cruise

Messina is a charming and vibrant city located in the northeastern corner of Sicily, right at the entrance of the Strait of Messina. It is a city rich in history, culture, and traditions that have been preserved over the centuries.

For those of you interested in genealogy, Messina is an excellent place to explore your family roots. The city has a wealth of historical and genealogical resources, including archives, libraries, and museums, that can help you trace your ancestry back several generations.

In Messina, you will find a fascinating mix of cultures and civilizations that have shaped the city’s identity over time. From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Normans and Arabs, Messina has been inhabited by various peoples who have left their mark on the city’s art, architecture, and customs.

One of the must-see attractions in Messina is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a stunning medieval church that was rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1908. Another landmark worth visiting is the Fountain of Orion, a magnificent Baroque masterpiece located in the heart of the city.

If you are interested in history, you can also visit the Regional Museum of Messina, which houses a vast collection of artifacts and artworks dating back to ancient times. The museum’s library is an excellent resource for genealogical research, as it contains a significant collection of historical documents and archives.

Finally, no visit to Messina would be complete without indulging in the city’s culinary delights. Messina is famous for its delicious street food, such as arancini, crocchè, and panelle, as well as its traditional dishes, including pasta alla Norma and swordfish rolls.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Messina and that you make some exciting discoveries about your family’s history and heritage during your time here!

960px Collage Messina

Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle (Greek: Ζάγκλη), from the Greek ζάγκλον meaning “scythe” because of the shape of its natural harbour (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). A comune of its Metropolitan City, located at the southern entrance of the Strait of Messina, is to this day called ‘Scaletta Zanclea’. Solinus wrote that the city of Metauros was established by people from Zancle.[8]


Possible Research Locations:

  • Archivio di Stato di Messina (State Archives of Messina): This is the primary repository for historical records in the city and is a great resource for genealogical research. The archives contain a vast collection of civil, ecclesiastical, and judicial records, including birth, marriage, and death certificates, census records, notarial deeds, and more.
  • Biblioteca Regionale Universitaria di Messina (Regional University Library of Messina): This library contains a wealth of genealogical resources, including historical maps, newspapers, and local history books. The library’s collection includes over 200,000 volumes, and it is an excellent place to conduct research on your family history.
  • Museo Regionale di Messina (Regional Museum of Messina): The museum houses a collection of artifacts and artworks that date back to ancient times. The library at the museum contains a collection of rare and historical documents, including historical newspapers and manuscripts, making it a great resource for genealogical research.
  • Parrocchia di Santa Maria degli Alemanni (Church of Santa Maria degli Alemanni): This church is located in the heart of Messina and is one of the oldest churches in the city. The church’s archives contain a wealth of genealogical records, including birth, marriage, and death certificates.
  • Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata (Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata): This church is another great resource for genealogical research, as its archives contain a collection of historical documents, including baptismal and marriage records. Address is Piazza S. Francesco d’Assisi, 2, 95124 Catania CT, Italy.
  • Cimitero Monumentale di Messina (Monumental Cemetery of Messina): This cemetery contains the graves of many prominent figures in Messina’s history, making it an excellent place to research your

Get To Know Messina

Messina Regional museum and historical city center – Private tour
4-6 hours $102.84/person

Experience the history and culture of Messina, one of the largest cities in Sicily together with its historical center. Located in the northeastern part of the island, the city center suffered the disaster of the earthquake on December 28, 1908. The Regional Museum of Messina preserves original decorations and precious works of art, recovered among the ravages of the old city: mosaics, paintings, sculptures, statues, and extremely decorated funerary monuments are just some of the pieces of art exhibited in the halls of the museum. The masterpieces of the Regional Museum of Messina are doubtless the works of art by Antonello da Messina, Montorsoli and Caravaggio provided between the XV and the XVII century. Furthermore, focus on the archaeological exhibition, testifying the past history of Messina when it was a Greek colony (Zancle) and then a province of the Roman Empire. Don’t miss the hypogeum complex of the Monastery of Saint Salvatore dei Greci.

Milazzo and Tindari Sicily: the heritage experience – Private tour
7-8 hours $128.55/person

Milazzo and Tindari Sicily are places of devotion, archaeology, military, and maritime power: let’s experience these two towns with their historical and impressive heritage. The ancient Greek colony of Tyndaris is today a famous religious destination due to the Byzantine simulacrum of the Black Madonna of Tindari, held in the majestic Sanctuary. Discover the rich archaeological area and the Antiquarium where you can live the Greek and Roman lifestyle of ancient times: in Tindari you will visit the ruins of a villa decorated with precious mosaics and equipped with a thermal plant. What do you think about a thermal bath?

Located in front of the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, the town of Milazzo is characterized by the ancient village (Borgo Antico) dominated by the fortress, where we can experience the medieval history featured by various populations that built the Citadel or the Castle in different phases: Normans, Swabians, and Spaniards left their marks over the centuries.

Here is a Messina Destination Guide to help you learn more about the area.

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