Messina was another port that Christine and I were just going to stay onboard and relax. However, this was our view from our veranda--the Votive Temple of Christ the King, crowned by an octagonal dome.
This could also be seen from our balcony. The attractions were so close that we couldn't resist going to see them more closely. And only walk a "few blocks".
Almost immediately after getting off the ship and walking across the pier was the Church of the Annunziata dei Catalani.
The church dates from the 13th century (1200's). Note the external decoration of the transept (transverse section which forms a cruciform shape in a church--remember the Vatican?), and the dome area with a series of blind arches separated by small columns.
The Annunziata dei Catalani clearly reflects Arabic architectural influences.
Christine always has the time to admire beautiful flowers.
Just down the street was the Chiesa Di S. Giacomo (St. James Church).
St. James was built between the Norman Age and early Swebian Age (9th-11th centuries A.D.).
The building has been added to and restored throughout the years. Note the frescos.
Recently found were ruins of the southern aisle along with the central aisle.
The Sanctuary of Montalto, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is up on the Caperrina hill. First built in 1295 but earthquakes destroyed the first structure. The building shown was built in 1930 with "modern" architecture.
Our journey was leading us to the Piazza del Duoma. The Piazza is a favorite tourist attraction with the Cathedral of Messina, the bell tower, and the Fountain of Orion.
The Fountain of Orion
The fountain was designed by Montosoli, a disciple of Michelangelo, and finished in 1553. Orion was a giant huntsman in Greek mythologh whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion.
The fountain not only embellished the square, it provided water for the Messina citizens. To lessen the damage from daily usage, iron gates were built but left free the external basins to allow access to the water. In 1855, the present railing was placed around the fountain closing off the fountain.
The Astrological Clock, or Bell Tower provides a great show at noon. The tower has four separate movements. At the bottom, a two-horse chariot driven by a god indicates the day of the week. Above, Death waves his scythe threatening the child, youth, soldier or old man-the four ages of man-that pass before him. The third layer displays a group of figures, which, according to the time of year, represent the Nativity, Ephphany, Resurrection, and Pentecost.
Athe the top, the local legend whereby the Madonna delivers a letter to the ambassadors of Messina in which she thanks the inhabitants of the town who were converted to Christianity by St. Paul.
When the clock strikes midday, all the mechanical figures come to life in time to music. The Ave Maria begins playing from a loudspeaker and the figures start to move; a lion roars, a bird flaps its wings, and two historica heroines take turns ringing the bell and just before it ends, a statue of Jesus appearing from a tomb appears. The show rivals the bell tower in Munich.
On the south side of the tower are two astrological clocks. Above is a perpetual calendar. It may need a little adjusting as the angel's arrow points to June 29. I took the picture on July 5. Notwithstanding, the clock was very impressive.
Another clock depicted the astrnomical cycle marked by the signs of the Zodiac and the different phases of the moon. I am not sure of the clock's accuracy as I only know my own sign.
The Catheral contains the remains of King Conrad, ruler of Germany and Sicily in the 13th century.
Note the beautiful marble of the Catheral.
And the ornate mosiacs.
Inside the Catheral.
The tall ceilings were noteworthy.
Unfortunately, most of my pictures within the Catherdral were too blurry to show.
Christine, lower right, took one more look before it was time to leave.
Back tracking, the Sanctuary of Montalto comes into view again.
It may be hard to tell but the building was quite ornate and typical of the houses and buildings we saw. Some business in the second opening advertised "Hollywood". I am not sure what they sold.
The twin stacks of Noordam provides a guiding beacon for the return trip.
And we sail off to Rome. We have ended our Eastern portion of our cruise. When we get to Rome, some passengers will disembark and some will stay on board for the Western cruise.