Though considered a stop on the road to the Aeolian islands by many, Milazzo is rapidly evolving into a travel destination itself, thanks to its long history which affords it numerous museums and ancient landmarks, and the local vineyards that produce the famous Mamertino wine.
You can find Milazzo by travelling to Sicily’s northeastern corner, close to Messina, at the point where the island meets the Italian peninsula. The small port has a long history, dating back to prehistory. It’s even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey as the place where Ulysses shipwrecks and meets Polyphemus.
The town saw Roman rulers, Byzantine, Arab and even spent some time under the Spanish, but today it’s known for the port which acts as the main hub for all boats leaving for the Aeolian Islands. It’s also a great destination.
Travel & Arrival
Unfortunately, there are no airports in the Messina province. However, air travelling tourists can catch a flight from Filippo Eredia airport in Catania, which is 140 km from Milazzo. There are busses and taxis available for the trip back to town.
As far as driving to Milazzo goes, the driver should look for the 113 highway connecting Trapani to Messina or the A20 motorway that links Palermo with Messina. The road was recently completed and has tollbooth access. Train and bus rides are also available directly to Milazzo.
By water, the port sees ferries departing and arriving every day from the Aeolian islands and Naples back on the mainland. There are tourist marinas for those who wish to arrive here by boat or charter their own vessel.
Avant & Sail
The main attraction in town, visible from out at sea and dominating the entire city center is the Castello di Milazzo. Its position high above the town allows it to have a wonderful view of the whole region. Inside, the visiting tourist will find a cathedral and a Benedictine convent, not to mention numerous fortifications which are attributed to the Arabs.
You should also visit the Rock Church of St. Anthony Padua and the Sanctuary of St. Francis of Paola. With such a long history and such a strategic maritime position, the town is full of religious landmarks that appeal to groups of visitors.
There are also lots of things to see in Messina, and in fact most of the sailors that end up here also take a day from their holiday to check out some of the sights in the neighboring city.
Eating out is a treat as there are lots of places where the starving seaman can get his fill. The great thing is that since the old town is relatively small, all these venues are within walking distance, perfect in case you want to work out an appetite. Italian dishes blend in perfectly with the seafood recipes but also with the Arab influences that characterize Sicilian cuisine as a whole.
Events & Actions
The castle in Milazzo is the host of many events during the summer months so this would be the perfect time to bring your family here. There are concerts, theatrical plays and musical concerts. The Madonna della Neve, local patron saint of fishermen, is celebrated in the first week in August.
For enthusiasts that also have a taste for that libation drink they call wine, an interesting event would be the “Mamertino di Milazzo” a celebration to the local grape juice that goes back to the days of Julius Caesar who is said to have enjoyed the Mamertino wine. In fact, in 2004 Milazzo was awarded “Wine city with strong touristic vocation” prize by the International Swiss Fair for tourism.