A city of natural and architectural wonder, Messina grows on a litoraneal hilly zone, 3 meters above sea level. In VI century BC, its original name was Zancle, which means scythe in greek language, referring to the shape of the peninsula of San Ranieri, which bore the first inhabitated settlement founded by calcideses. The city changed its name in Messanion during V century BC, after the invasion of the Messenes, changed again in Messana during Roman domination, Msna under Arabs and finaly in the current Messina.
In 396 BC it was destroyed by carthaginians and rebuilt by Dionigi, tyrant of Siracusa. In 263 BC it was conquered by Romans, in 843 AD by Arabs, and later by Normans and by Angevins.
During Aragoneses and Spanish domination commerce flourished in a good way, although in XVII century the city rioted for the greed of the spanish government. After the disband of the riots, Messina began to decay, its previous privileges were canceled and the Citadel was built, a war-machine like building guarding the city.
It was struck by a plague in 1743 and by an earthquake in 1783, which badly damaged the city. In 1847 and 1848 Messina took part at the Italian Resurgement. Destroyed during the earthquake of 1903, it was rebuilt with a totally new urbanistic setting. Amongst most important monuments are the Dome, built during the norman period and restored in the last century, the Steeple of the Dome, seat of the famous astronomical clock built in Strasburg and christened in 1933, the Fountain of Orion built in 1547 and the Municipal Palace.