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Messina (Italian pronunciation: [mesˈsiːna]  ( listen), Sicilian: Missina) is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, Italy and the capital of the province of Messina. It has a population of about 250,000 inhabitants in the city proper and about 500,000 in the province. It is located near the northeast corner of Sicily, at the Strait of Messina, just opposite Villa San Giovanni on the mainland.

The main economical resources of the city are: the port (commercial and military), provided with several shipyards; agriculture, that includes the cultivation of lemons, oranges, mandarin oranges, olives and wine production; tourism.

The city has been a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and Archimandrite seat since 1548 and is home to a locally important international fair.



Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle, from the Greek: ζάγκλον meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its natural harbour (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). A comune of its province, located at the southern entrance of the Strait of Messina, is to this day called 'Scaletta Zanclea'. In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas of Rhegium renamed it Messene in honour of the Greek city Messene (Greek: Μεσσήνη). (See also List of traditional Greek place names.) The city was sacked in 397 BC by the Carthaginians and then reconquered by Dionysius I of Syracuse.

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