The Province of Messina
The province of Messina covers an area of 3,247.34 square kilometres with as far as 108 cities that include places of highest historical and naturalistic interest. Despite numerous disasters, as were a devastating earthquake in 1908 and different ravaging wars, the city of Messina managed to regain its former splendor, today combined with a modern urban planning. The Madonna della Lettera is the saint patron of the province’s capital city. The ruins of the church of Santa Maria d’Alemanna are particularly worth-mentioning. Having miraculously survived ravages of time, wars and natural disasters, they represent rare specimens of the Gothic art.
Originally named Zancle, a Greek colony founded in the 8th century BC, Messina counts today about 270,000 inhabitants. It boasts a renowned cuisine that much owes to centuries of intense commercial and cultural exchanges. Rice and cod-fish are among the city’s best appreciated foods, used as integral ingredients in many dishes. Other specialties are most renowned, such as the sword-fish and mint or lamb and vegetables pasta, that are then flavored with delicious sauces. Some patisserie specialties are also worth-mentioning, most notably the Riso Nero (black rice) and the Crocchette di riso (rice croquettes).