Milazzo Tourist Attractions
EventsPassion play on Good Friday, festival of San Francesco di Paola (2nd Sunday after Easter), festival of Sant'Antonio di Padova (June 13th).LocationMilazzo, a port and seaside resort, is situated on a narrow tongue of land jutting far out into the sea, at the western end of the Golfo di Milazzo.
HistoryGreeks from Zancle (Messina) founded the town of Mylai in 716 B.C. on the site of an old Sikel settlement. In 426 B.C. the Athenians, and in 315 B.C. the troops of Agathocles of Syracuse, took the town. The Romans gained their first sea victory near Mylai by defeating the Carthaginian fleet in 216 B.C. In the Middle Ages the Norman kings built a castle which was later altered by the Emperor Frederick II and extended by the Spanish in the 15th and 16th centuries. In more recent times the town had an important role to play when in 1860 Garibaldi defeated the Bourbon troops who had taken up positions in the castle.Today Milazzo is a lively port and fishing town with an oil refinery and chemical industry.
The modern lower part of Milazzo around the harbor is mainly the result of developments since 1860. In the town hall there is a library and mementos from the period of the Risorgimento.Mention should also be made of the pilgrimage church of San Francesco di Paola (inside, an altarpiece attributed to Domenico Gagini) with its elegant 18th c. facade. In the New Cathedral there are paintings by Antonello da Saliba (16th century) and Antonio Giuffrè (15th century).
The upper town of Milazzo is directly to the north of the lower town. Towering over it is the massive castle, built by Frederick II and extended by the Spanish during the 15th and 16th centuries (inside a Great Hall). The neglected Old Cathedral, which the Florentine Camillo Camilliani designed at the end of the 16th century also stands here. In the Church of San Papino (1629) there is a crucifix by Fra Umile da Petralia.
Capo di Milazzo
All three roads leading northwards have as their destination the headland 6km/4mi to the north, with its 78m/256ft high lighthouse. From here there is a superb view over to the Aeolian Islands and to Mount Etna.
Santa Lucia del Mela
Santa Lucia del Mela (12km/7mi south of Milazzo) lies 215m/705ft high, overlooking the valley of the Torrente Floripotena, on the northern slope of Monte Melia in the Monti Peloritani. In Saracen times the old castle was a favored place of Frederick II, who granted it ecclesiastical privileges. Frederic II of Aragon had the castle rebuilt in 1322 and brought in a colony of Lombards. Of the castle a triangular tower and a round watch-tower are still standing.
The Chiesa Madre in Santa Lucia del Mela, dedicated to Santa Lucia, with a fine Renaissance doorway dating from the end of the 15th century, is thought to have been built by Gabriele di Battista, although it was altered in the 16th/17th centuries. In the tympanum can be seen the Madonna and Child between the Saints Lucia and Agata, as well as other works of art.In the Church of the Annunziata a large panel painting of the Madonna and Child, dating from around 1400, has been preserved.
Leaving Milazzo and traveling eastwards to Monforte Marina (c. 14km/9mi), we turn off right on the road to Rometta. After about 6km/4mi the village of Roccavaldina, 341m/1,119ft up, is reached, with its palace belonging to the Valdina family. This noble family of Spanish origin acquired the then new castle in 1509 and made additions to the building in 1600 to give it the appearance of a palace. These alterations were probably carried out by the Tuscan Camilliani, who was also responsible for the Old Cathedral in Milazzo.In 1623 Pietro Valdina was made Marchese della Rocca, since which time the village and the family have both been known as Roccavaldina.
Map of Milazzo Attractions