The castles of Messina can be considered as beautiful sights not only of Messina but of the whole Sicily. As a rule each big place of Messina has got a fortress or at least remains of a fortress on its territory, which belonged to the Normans, Spaniards or Ancient Greeks in the past.
The citadel of Messina is situated in the south-western part of the capital of the province. It is a great construction which was built by the Spaniards in the 17th century. At first it was a great fortification which was very often a centre of military operations. In Messina it is known as the Gonsalo Fort. Since that time the castle of Messina has lost its past magnificence. Nowadays remained are some detached houses, a fort and a building of the barracks.
One of the most famous castles of Messina is a castle in Milazzo. According to some documents this fortress was founded in the epoch of the Ancient Greeks. Nowadays its walls and towers are the same which were built at the time of the Emperor Frederick the Second. Some parts of the fortification and a Chapel have been preserved since the 13th century. The castle had been used as a prison for 150 years and only at the end of 1980ies the restoration process began. Today some rooms and barracks have already been restored. There is a wonderful view of the place, of a narrow peninsula and of the Aeolian Islands, which can be seen from the walls of the castle.
The Castle of Montalbano Alicona is a picturesque medieval fortress which has been dominating a tiny Sicilian settlement for the last 700 years. The greatest part of the walls of the fortress has been preserved unchanged till nowadays. There are some interesting buildings on its territory; among them is the Baron’s Palace, the Jesuitical House and some public houses. The most interesting cultural events and theatrical performances are held in the Castle of Montalbano Alicona.
There is a castle on the territory of the Lipari Islands which belongs to the province of Messina as well. The fortress on the main isle of the archipelago was built by the Greeks, later it belonged to the Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. In the 16th century it was ruined by Barbarossa, but later it was restored. For the following years and even centuries the citadel has constantly been redecorated and rebuilt. Nowadays the features of the original Greek architecture are difficult to find but it is popular among tourists because of its wonderful sceneries and views.
There are a lot of villages in Messina where you can find medieval fortresses or their remains. They are not so famous as the Castle of Milazzo, but they are wonderful parts of the Sicilian landscape. Small castles can be found in such places as Sant’Alessio Siculo, Venetico, Scaletta Zanclea, Brolo and Sant’Agata di Militello.