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Milazzo, more than just the gateway to the Aeolian Islands

TOWNS AND CITIES IN SICILY

Villas in Sicily near Milazzo >>

Map of Sicily showing Milazzo | Think SicilyIts strategic position at the base of a promontory stretching 5km out into the Tyrrhenian Sea, has given Milazzo an important role since it was founded by settlers from Zancle (modern-day Messina) over 2,500 years ago.

Today, Milazzo is the main port of departure for those heading to the Aeolian Islands, but in 260BC it was the site of a famous Roman naval victory against the Carthaginians in the First Punic War.

Some 200 years later, the waters off Mylae (Milazzo) were the setting of another defining moment in Rome’s history. Sextus Pompey, Pompey the Great’s son, was involved in a running battle against the Second Roman Triumvirate. He chose Mylae as his naval base and in 36BC engaged Octavian in battle. Neither side triumphed, but Octavian came out stronger. In a second confrontation a month later, the future Emperor Augustus (for Octavian was he!) defeated the rebel forces at Naulochus, just a few kilometres away. Sextus fled to Miletus, where he was later executed.

 ...the cape is also well worth exploring, particularly the splendid Norman castle, the cavernous rock church of Sant'Antonio di Padua and the beaches of the Riviera di Ponente

Milazzo would be at the centre of bellic phenomena several more times over the course of its history, staging battles between Spain and Austria in 1718, Garibaldi and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1860 and the invading Allied Armies and the German occupiers in the 2nd World War.

While most visitors today just pass through on their way to the Aeolian Islands, Milazzo is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area – don’t be put off by the industrial development just up the coast! The old town centre itself is charming and retains some fine buildings and churches, while the cape is also well worth exploring, particularly the splendid Norman castle, the cavernous rock church of Sant'Antonio di Padua and the beaches of the Riviera di Ponente. Great views and sunsets are guaranteed and there are several good walking tracks.

Villas in Sicily near Milazzo >>

 

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If you're heading for the Aeolian Islands for a couple of days and need somewhere to park in Milazzo, try the Garage delle Isole in Via San Paolino, 66, tel.  39 090 9288585. It is well signposted and situated just 600m from the port. They run a shuttle service to and from the port for those with bags.

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