Today Milazzo, called Mylai (“city of the sea”) in ancient times, is known primarily as the main port for travel to the Aeolian Islands, which lie only a few miles offshore. However, the city has much more to offer to tourists and natives. In Borgo Antico, the oldest part of the town, we will visit the Santuario di San Francesco di Paola, a 1464 church founded by the saint. Then we will continue the walking tour to the Castello, built by the Arabs on the site of a Greek acropolis and enlarged several times during the French and the Spanish periods. Next we will stroll along the seafront on Lungomare Garibaldi and cross into the district of Vaccarella. Here we will stop to enjoy the open-air fish market and then follow the panoramic road along the eastern side of the Milazzo promontory.
The peninsula of Capo Milazzo is perhaps the highlight of our excursion. It possesses not only natural beauty but also historical remnants of all the cultures that once inhabited Sicily. Recent restorations have enhanced its appeal. Now we will climb a short flight of steps leading to the Santuario di Sant’Antonio da Padova, a little church built in the cave where the saint took refuge after a shipwreck in January 1221. Our return walk to Milazzo will take us past many groves of wild olive trees and prickly pears.
Note: The Excursion to Milazzo can easily be combined with the Excursion to Santa Lucia del Mela for a full day.