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Messina, Sicily

Situated on the western shore of the Strait bearing its name, the port at the entrance to Sicily is one of the deepest and safest in the Mediterranean. The city's was rebuilt low buildings to minimize the danger of earthquakes. This gives the center a pleasant, open townscape combining sea, sky and hills. Train-ferries, car-ferries and hydrofoils make the connection across the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria on the Italian mainland. Among the main attractions is the Norman-Romanesque cathedral, with an adjoining bell tower. The works of Renaissance painter Antonello da Messina and two large Caravaggios can be seen at the Museo Regionale - which features an interesting collection of material salvaged after the 1908 earthquake. From Messina, excursions are possible to Taormina, Mount Etna and across the Strait to mainland Italy.