Messina, Italy

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Gateway to Mt. Etna, the awe-inspiring and still-active volcano, the seaport of Messina is the third-largest city in Sicily. Known for its fine cathedral, museums and for its rich Sicilian wines, Messina and the surrounding area was also the location for much of the Godfather series of films. An afternoon or a day in Messina can include a drive up to the windswept side of Mt. Etna (hold on to your hat—it is seriously windy here!) or to the shop-lined streets of Taormina. Many stores sell Sicilian ceramics, with colorful hues painted on volcanic earthen pottery, pieces created in the same way that they have been for centuries. Look also for jewelry and crafts made from beautiful black volcanic glass, collected from the slopes of Etna.

Don’t miss a chance to taste the wines of the region, which are gaining fame worldwide for their rich body and incomparable flavor. The 62-acre San Michele Estate, within driving distance of the port, creates wines that take advantage of the location's unusual, sheltered microclimate and volcanic soil.