Messina is the 'door of Sicily'. A busy port town located on the narrow Strait of Messina, famous for its unruly waters and conflicting currents, it is the closest city to mainland Italy and often a first port of call for travelers from other parts of Europe.
The city has endured many tests over the centuries: revolt against the Spanish in 1678, which burnt the city to the ground; earthquakes in 1783 and 1908 (this one sank the shore half a meter and killed 80,000 people); and World War II bombing in 1943. Also, the famous volcano Mt Etna smokes and breathes daily in the hills behind the city. Despite all this, Messina thrives as a noisy, crowded port city.
The cruise port is right in the heart of downtown Messina and it is easy to walk straight off the ship and into the Piazza del Duomo, the heart of the old town area and the part you'll want to explore.