Milazzo, in northeastern Sicily, is primarily a departure point for ferries to Naples and the Aeolian islands, though a handful of luxury cruise lines anchor here, too. On a promontory that stretches into the Tyrrhenian Sea, this port dates back to the ancient Greeks, and was the site of where the Romans celebrated numerous naval victories. Today, passengers can wander the seaside promenade and the crescent of beach, and explore the alleys of the medieval Borgo Antico, and the rugged Capo Milazzo.
What We Love
Tindari: Some cruise lines offer a bus to this coastal town, just west of Milazzo. It’s the site of Greco-Roman ruins and the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, a hilltop church that houses the famous wooden sculpture salvaged from the Byzantine Iconoclast era. From the sanctuary, you can get views of the sea and a curious sandbank shaped like a woman. Legend has it that a follower dropped her child over the cliff, and courtesy of the madonna, the life-saving bar rose from the ocean.
Best Known For
Castle of Milazzo: You can walk around the crumbling fortifications of this imposing structure, which was built high on a rocky outcropping. From this elevation, you can take for granted that the views are going to be far-reaching on clear days, when you can see out to the Aeolian islands and the Capo Milazzo.
Sant Antonio di Padova: This cavernous rock church on Cape Milazzo was where San Antonia de Padova took refuge after a shipwreck in 1221, and the building is home to a number of religious treasures that span from the 16th to the 18th centuries, including marble slabs and bas-reliefs depicting the miracles of the Saint Anthony.
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Who It's Best For
Second-Time Visitors to Italy: Milazzo won’t be the most jaw-dropping stop on your Italy itinerary, but it does add some variety to an itinerary full of heavy hitters.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There’s an Industrial Side: You'll need to look past the unsightly industrial zones on the shore to access the port’s lo charms.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.