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Founded as Zancle in the second half of the 8th century BC. by Chalcidian Greeks, its name was changed to Messene in about 490 BC. with the arrival of settlers from Messenia. Later conquered by Syracusans, Mamertines and Carthaginians, it came under the influence of Rome in 264 BC. After the fall of the Empire, Messina was dominated by the Goths before passing to Byzantium in 553 and Arab rule in 843. It became a Norman possession in 1061. From this date, its history was that of the Kingdom of Sicily. Messina was on several occasions struck by an earthquake and the last, in 1908, almost destroyed it completely, claiming over 60,000 victims. Of interest is the Norman Dome with its huge astronomical clock with four quadrants, the "Fontana di Orione" (1547).



The importance of the town is connected with the presence of the near Grotta di San Teodoro on the slopes of Pizzo Castellaro, one of the most important prehistoric areas of the Mediterranean.
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Alcara li Fusi, is probably of Hellenic origin. It lays on the right slope of the valley Rosmarino, at the foot of the Rocche del Castro, an impressive calcareous Mesozoic emergence representing one of the most suggestive landscapes in Nebrodi. Of interest is the Turio Castle, the fountain of Piano Abate and the Mother Church. The grotto of Lauro is also very suggestive with its great stalactites formations.
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Barcellona was founded in 1639 and has belonged to Castroreale's territory until half of the XVIII century. Of interest is the Church dell'Assunta, the Cathedral of S. Sebastiano (1606), the 16th century Church of S. Vito. Also important are the archaeological ruins of Località Uliveto with some necropolis of the VI-VII centuries B.C..
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The small town has belonged to the feudal family of Lancia until the 18th century when it became a possession of the Marquise Del Longarino. Of interest is the Medieval Castle erected in 1200, the Mother Church and the Baratta Palace.
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A village of ancient origin, was one of the last cities in capitulating during the Arab invasion of Val Demone. Of interest is the Mother Church and the Church of St. Giacomo. In the near quarters of Acqua Santa and Acqua Canne there are some fountains whose waters are known for their presumed miraculous effects.
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Early testimonies of the presence of the town date back to the 12th century B.C.. Diodorus, Pliny the Elder and Strabo testify the existence of the ancient town of Agatiurnon then destroyed. The town was ruled by different lords: Guglielmo di Palermo in the 14th century, Guglielmo di Leo in the 15th century, Guglielmo Crescimanno di Piazza Armerina in the 18th century. Of interest is the Santuario di Maria SS. di Capo d'Orlando built in 1598, the ruins of the 14th century Castle and the Torre del Trappeto (15th century).
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The name derives from the Greek-Byzantine "Palachorion". The most interesting monuments are the Cathedral Church, the Church of S. Teodoro, the Church of SS. Pietro and Paolo of the Norman period.
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Castelmola is a small medieval town located on the ridge offering a magnificent view of the sea, Taormina, the coast of Calabria and Mt. Etna. The town was founded by the Siculians in the 8th century B.C. and destroyed by Dionisio I of Siracusa in 392 BC. In 350 BC it was rebuilt by Andromaco, the historian Timeo's father. It was conquered by the Romans, by the Arabs in 902 AD and by the Normans in 1078. Of interest are the ruins of the castle (16th century) and the church of S. Giorgio built in the 17th century.
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This village was probably founded by the Siculans in the 8th C. B.C.. It immediately became of strategic importance for its position controlling the Milazzo valley. Roger I gave it as a baronet privilege to Goffredo Borrello in 1092. In 1848 after surrender of Messina to Bourbons, it was the headquarters of the of the provincial authorities and gave refuge to fugitives from Messina. Of interest is The Tower of Frederick II, the remains of the Castle, the church of the Assunta.
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Inserted among the high grounds of the hilly chain of Nebrodi, surrounded with oak-groves and secular beeches, Cesarò preserves the old features almost intact. its territory is characterized by dense woods and little lakes originated in the watershed of Nebrodi. Very beautiful, the landscape where there is the lake Biviere, so called because of the animals which stopped there to water. This is also a halting-place for flights of migrating birds; surrounded with lofty beech and yew-woods of the mount Soro and the Serra del Re, the lake unfolds all its singular beauty when, in the clear sky day, the cone of the Etna is reflected in it. Of interest is the baroque Mother Church, the church of S. Calogero.
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In the south eastern Peloritan mountains, the village is clustered in a bend of the Fiumedinisi river, close to its mouth. Its lords from 1320 were Roger di Vallone, Giaimo di Villanova and the Colonna family. Of interest is the Mother Church and the ruins of the Belvedere Castle of the 12th century.
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This village in the eastern Nebrodi mountains lies in a saddle between Mt Pistone and the Serre di Baratta. The village was founded in the 17th century, came into possession of the Marquise Antonio Quintana Dueguas, of his daughter Melchiora and in from 1675 to the end of the 18th century, it passed to the Prince Paolo Ardoino. The wintry landscape is very suggestive, especially when Floresta is covered with a thick mantle of snow.
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It is a medieval village overlooking the Ionian Sea at 15 Km from Taormina. Impressing are the surrounding spurs of the southern Peloritani mountains. In 1117 Forza D'Agró was given by Count Roger to the Basilian monks of the great monastery of the Saints Pietro e Paolo. The village is dominated by the remains of the castle of the 16. century, today used as a cemetery.
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Gaggi lies in the lower Alcantara river valley. The village was founded by Muslims in the 9th century and it was later dominated by Swabians-Normans. During Norman domination it was given by Roger II to the Monastery of Savoca. Until 1939 it was called Kaggi. The village is a base for excursions to the "Alcantara gorges".
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Placed on a hill overlooking the Valle del Fitalia and includes, Galati Mamertino, the ancient Qual'at', rose in Arabic-Norman period. In 1124 Adelasia of Aragon made built priorship dedicated to St. Anne. In 1320 it was given by Frederick II of Swabia, called Redbeard, to Blasco Lancia and in 1644 it passed to Filippo Amato with the title of principality. Of interest are the ruins of the Castle, the Mother Church. Very interesting is also its naturalistic patrimony, with the wonderful Cascata of Catafurco and the wood of Mangalavite.
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Situated below Taormina, Naxos was the first Greek colony in Sicily, founded in 735 B.C. by Chalcidians of Euboea. Naxos is archeologically one of the very few remaining chances to study the most ancient aspects of Greek urbanistics. The most interesting monuments are the Castle of Schisò; the ruins of a Blockhouse of the 17th -18th centuries; the Archaeological Museum. There are also many archaeological areas of the ancient Naxos with the remains of a temple of the 5th century B.C. and graves of the bronze age.
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The Aeolian archipelago originally the volcanic mythical site of the King of Winds, is situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily and is composed of seven principal islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Alicudi, Filicudi, Stromboli and Panarea) and a few islets. Geologically, these beautiful islands are quite rugged, with deep caverns, steep cliffs, and splendid views.

the ancient Meligunis, is the largest island of the Archipelago, once known as the Trade Centre of Obsidian and renowned today as the main Centre for Pumice stone. Inhabited since the Neolithic and later occupied by by Greeks, Romans and Chartaginians, the isle declined after the incursions of Vandals in the Middle Ages. Lipari was pillaged in 1544 by muslim pirates Kair-ed-Din who made slaves of the inhabitants.
Of interest is the Spanish castle built in the 16th century, the Aeolian Archeological Museum, the Cathedral, the Chiesa dell'Addolorata, dell'Immacolata and of S. Maria delle Grazie. An Hellenistic Necropolis has been also found. The island offers numerous natural attractions and the large Ponente Beach is the island's one of the greatest.
is the nearest island to mainland Sicily and is separated from Lipari by a narrow stretch of sea called Bocche di Vulcano. Considered in ancient times as the site of Efesto, God of fire, it presents a stupendous contrast between its rocks and the intense blue of the sea. The Porto di Levante and that of Ponente, delimitated by the penisula of Vulcanello constitute two splendid and contrasting beaches, one very coloured and the other with black volcanic sand. Characterized by fumaroles and thermal springs, the island is presented as a plateau on which stand out the Monte Aria and the crater Fossa Grande whose cone shape was altered in its last eruption of 1890.
the "green island", the ancient Didyme, has the highest mount of the Archipelago, the Mountains Fossa delle Felci and dei Porri. It has spring water which permits an intense agriculture. Noteworthy is its Malvasia vines, fruit, capers and cactus fruit. Near Punta Lingua there is a little salt water lake used at one time for Saline, from which the name of the island derives.
is the most western of the Archipelagos. The highest peak is that of, an extinct volcano. In contrast to the ruggedness of the west, the east has a form of nature more suitable for cultivation and construction. The island offers an extraordinary sequence of landscapes characterized by beaches, backwaters, caves and an uncontaminated sea rich with fish and lobster.
oval in form and surrounded by rocks, among which the Canna, a natural obelisk 85 metres high. La grotta del Bue Marino is characterized by ghostly rays of light.
is formed by a volcanic cone of 926 metres which is still active and pours lava as far as along the north west coast, called Sciara del Fuoco. The other areas are inhabited and covered with vineyards, olive and caper groves. In the north east, 1.6 kilometres away, stands out a small islet called Strombolicchio.
surrounded by isles and islets, among which Basiluzzo, has an indented coastal perimeter of notable suggestion. Characterized by a still uncontaminated nature and a rich and rare fauna, it offers the possibility of multiple excursions, among which the Conca di Calcara is worth particular attention.
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Situated on the Ionian coast north of Taormina, Letojanni, a small hamlet coming under Gallodoro, it expanded in the last century and with Gallodoro in 1880 it obtained administrational equality, maintained until 1952 when Letojanni and Gallodoro became two autonomous communes. Of interest is the neogothic Parish Church.
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Located on the edge of town, the castle was one of the first Norman buildings erected in Sicily. Milazzo itself was founded as Mylae by Greeks from Zancle (Messina) in 716 BC. but soon after conquered by Byzantines and by Arabs. Of interest is the Norman Castle, the Mother Church of the 17th century, and the civic museum.
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The ancient Amestratos is overhung by the Rocche del Castello, a high ground where recent excavations have brought to light the ruins of the Chiesa Paleocristiana with three Byzantine apses, and the ruins of an Arab-Norman fortress. The city has preserved its original structure and the valuable historical and architectonic patrimony. Of interest is the Mother church and the Chiesa dei Pellegrini.
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In 1400 it belonged to Tommaso Tortorici and in the 17th century it was possession of the Lanza family. Of interest is the church of S. Maria delle Grazie built in 1600. Very interesting are also the near Alcantara Gorges.
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The origin of the village date back to 1145 when it belonged to Bartolomeo de Luce. Later it became possession of different feudatories: Alagonas, Valguarnera, Moncada, Saccanos. The most interesting monuments are two Santuari Rupestri; the remains of an ancient Byzantine monastery of the 8th - 9th centuries, the ruins of the walls of the Medieval Castle and the Mother Church.
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First news about the existence of the village dates back to the 11th century when it was a State possession. In 1232 it revolted against Federick II of Swabia, and supported the Pope together with other centres. Of interest is the Castle built by Federick II of Aragon in the of the 14th century and the Mother Church (1648).
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Patti was founded in 1094 during the domination of count Ruggero d'Altavilla. Later it was burnt down by Fredrick II of Aragon to penalize its loyalty to Angevins. The centre was rebuilt but in 1544 it was burnt down again by corsair Ariadeno Barbarossa. Of interest is the Mother Church (18th century), the medieval church of St. Michele and the Sactuary of Madonna di Tindari. Very interesting is also the ruins of a Romana Villa dating back to the 2nd century A.D.
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The first village was founded by knight Don Giovanni La Rocca in 1608. In the 18th century the village was residence of Ardoinos and then of Moncadas who has ruled it till the abolition of feudal duties. Of interest is the so-called "Torre di Sollima" a Saracen tower of the 15th century and the Church of Arcangelo Michele.
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The village developed around the castle, erected at the end of the 15th C. by Andreotto I Valdina. In the 18th C. it passed to the Armao family and the castle to the Nastasi de Spuches family. Of interest is the Baronial Palace of Valdina, built in the 15th century and the Mother Church. Roccavaldina is renowned for the so-called "Bottega dello Speziale" (apothecary's shop) which is an ancient chemist of 1500 with original vases, mortars, bottles and jigs for the conservation and preparation of medicines and drugs.
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Its origin dates back to the history of the old city of Apollonia which, during the Hellenic colonization, was a little way out of the present built-up area. Jealous of its own history, the people have preserved until to-day a peculiar language of Gallic-Longobard origin. It is incomprehensible for visitors and have kept intact its culture and traditions, among which there is the singular "Festa dei Giudei" (jews' feast): a real burst of colours and crazy conducts, unfolding its Dionysian origins, with the exaltation of the Eros and orgiastic spirit, a typical display of the Hellenic culture. San Fratello is situated in the middle of the most beautiful place in the Park of Nebrodi where wild horses of Arab origin feed undisturbed. Of architectonic interest is the Chiostro del Convento di San Francesco, founded in 1300 and the Byzantine Chiesa dei Tre Santi.
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The village of S. Agata di Militello extends along the coast, between the mouth of the river Rosmarino and the river Inganno, through the beach and the first spurs of the mountains. The built-up area extends around the original centre, which was the Gallego's castle, built around 1630 as a tower in defense of the coast and still representing the main attraction of the urban landscape. In the periphery of this structure there is enclosed the chapel where paintings and wooden statues, dating from 1600 and 1700, are preserved. Of interest are also the neoclassic Duomo and the elegant villas and nineteenth-century palaces.
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The village is situated along the coast that goes from Capo Sant'Alessio (defined by Greek Argennon akron). From1452 to 1717 it was property of De Angelicas, Romano Colonnas, Furnaros, and Paternò Castellos. Of interest are the medieval castle, the ancient house "delle decime", the Quartiere di Mezzo which is made up of 1600 houses.
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Situated on the offshoot of the Mounts Nebrodi, the ancient Aluntium was one of the most important cities in the Thyrrhenian coast of Sicily during the Hellenic colonization. The present name S. Marco was assumed during the Norman period, under Roberto il Guiscardo's rule. Of interest are the Tempio di Ercole, built in the 4th century BC, the Byzantine Chiesa di S. Teodoro, the Baroque Chiesa dell'Aracoeli, the Mother Church and the medieval Chiesa di San Basilio.
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In the north western Peloritan mountains, this village lies on the northern slopes of Mt. Mela. A hamlet in Saracen times, it was a favourite hunting residence of Frederick II of Swabia. Of interest are the imposing Mother church of Santa Lucia, the 17th century Episcopal Palace and the Castle.
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In the northern Nebrodi mountains, this village lies in the Mt. Saraceni range. The village developed near the Basilian monastery of San Michele. Of interest are the 16th Century cloister of the monastery of San Francesco, the small church of San Filippo of the 16th century.
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The little village of S. Teodoro, also called "'u casali" is situated in the southern Nebrodi mountains. Belonging in the 14th C. to Giacomo de Mustacio, it then passed to Paolo Campolo and in 1687 to Diego Brunaccini. Of interest is the Mother Church, built in 1692 which keeps a statue of St. Gaetano con il Bambino by Filippo Quattrocchi (18th century).
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Destroyed by a landslide in 1682 and rebuilt in 1693, it was a feud in the times of the emperor Frederik III. A popular seaside resort, Santo Stefano di Camastra is a leading manufacturer of artistic pottery. The most interesting monuments are the Mother Church and the "Cimitero Vecchio".
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Savoca is situated on a ridge between the Savoca stream an the d'Agrò river, on the lower southern slopes of the Peloritan mountains. Probably founded in the 12th Century, in 1415 it belonged to the archbishops of Messina. Of interest are the ruins of the Norman castle, the church of San Michele, 15th C., the Mother Church of the 16th century.
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Since the end of the nineteenth century Taormina has become a world famous international resort whose visitors are, time and time again, enraptured by its charming atmosphere, its natural beauty, its all-year-round mild climate, its preservation of local culture and ancient history. Settled on a hill of the Monte Tauro, Taormina dominates two grand, sweeping bays below and on the southern side, the top of Mount Etna. In 392 it was conquered by Dionysius I of Siracusa and after his death, it had a period of great splendour when Andromache was elected head of the town. In 358 B.C., Greeks from the coastal settlement of Naxos fled to escape the wrath of Dionysius, fearful tyrant of Siracuse who constantly made war with the neighboring Greek colonies. The Romans conquered Taormina in the Second Punic War in 212 B.C., constructing numerous civic and religious structures whose foundations are still visible today. The Bizantines spread Christianity in Taormina in the 7th and 8th centuries AD but gave way to the Moors from North Africa in 902. The Arabs were skilled engineers and greatly improved irrigation and cultivation practices in and around the town. The Normans conquered Taormina in the 12th century and masterfully synthesized the diverse traditions they found on site, employing skillful Moorish craftsmen and architects in their projects. In the following centuries Taormina suffered the fate of much of the South; it became a pawn in the conquests of greater powers, notably France and Spain. Of interest are The Greek-Roman Theatre, the second-largest in Sicily after the one in Siracusa, the archaeological museum, the Odeon, Corvaia Palace and the ruins of Naumachia.
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Terme Vigliatore, renowned in Roman period by the name of Fons Veneris, is a small village located between the Gulf of Tindari and the Promontory of Milazzo. It was a Roman resort for its thermal waters and its good wine. Of interest are the ruins of a Roman villa.
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Tindari is an Hellenic town founded by Locrese and Medmese refugees; it was rebuilt by the Romans, and, till today, the Greek- Roman theatre is preserved, as well as the spas and the residential area with valuable mosaics, a gymnasium with arcades and a Roman Basilica. During the excavations, a great decuman road was discovered; it is 2 kilometres long and from the centre of Tindari leads towards Mongiove. Tindari also has the famous Sanctuary of the Black Madonna.
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Mentioned by geographer Tolomeo of Alessandria in the 2nd century A.D., the village was founded between the 8th and the 9th centuries by refugees from Halaesa and it was destroyed by an earthquake in 856. The most interesting monuments are the Mother church, the Church of St. Pietro, the Church of St. Leonardo and, of course, the ruins of Halaesa.
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The legend attributes the foundation of Ucria to the survivors of the city of Monte Castello, disappeared without leaving any traces, in conseguence of some disaster. Situated at the foot of the Rocca di Poggio, and overhanging the valley of the river Naso, Ucria still preserves its medieval features in the interlacement of the quarters. Of interest are the Mother Church, the Chiesa dell'Annunziata, built by Franciscans in the 16th century and the Chiesa del Rosario (1700) with its bell-tower in majolica spire.
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