Villafranca Tirrena

Villafranca Tirrena is in the province of Messina on the island of Sicily, Italy. It is 22 km across the Straits of Messina to the region of Calabria. The municipality of Villafranca Tirrena contains the frazioni (subdivisions, mainly villages and hamlets) Serro, Divieto, Castelluccio, Castello, and Calvaruso. As of 2013, it had a population of 8,650 and an area of 14.3 km². The main economical resources of the city are: commerce, small industries, agriculture, that includes the cultivation of lemons, oranges, mandarin oranges, olives and wine production, tourism.

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  • Villafranca Tirrena is a town in the province of Messina, on the Thyrrenian sea, known with the name of Briosa and Bauso during the ancien times. Already mentioned in the Aragonese period, it was a fief of the Cottone family during the 16th-century and it was the site of a busy trading station along the Palermo-Messina road. Architectonic masterpieces of the town are the baronial castle (Castello di Bauso), built in 1590 by Stefano Cottone, the Church of San Nicolò, with a beautiful painted 16th-century cross and a marble statue of madonna and child from the Calamecca’s workshop, and the Sanctuary of Jesus Ecce Homo, with a valuable wooden statue of Hecce Homo by Gianfranco Pitorno, also known with the name of frate Umile from Petralia.

Villafranca Tirrena is about 12 km northwest of Messina and about 180 km east of Palermo. It borders the following municipalities: Messina, Saponara, Rometta, Saponara, Venetico, Spadafora. It can be reached via highways (autostrade) from Messina from the south and Palermo from the north.

Villafranca is Sicily’s link to the main Italian train network. Long distance trains from Rome and Naples cross the Straits of Messina by ferry and continue on to Palermo and Catania. Regular regional trains also run to Villafranca, Milazzo, Cefalu, Taormina and Syracuse.

Long-distance buses stop in Messina, linking Rome and Naples to Catania and Palermo. Regular local buses also run to Villafranca, Milazzo (for the Aeolian Islands) and Taormina.

Natives of Sicily speak Sicilian, an ancient Romance language that is a separate language from Italian.

Most Sicilians are proficient in Italian, and modern schools teach English to students. In small villages, some of the older residents may not speak Italian (they will usually understand though).

Even though Italian is the national language, Sicilian is still very alive in Sicily. They may say “Comu ti senti?” (“How are you feeling?”) The normal question is “Come stai?” (“How are you?”)

  • [dead link]Castello di Bauso (Bauso Castle). The Castle in Villafranca Tirrena built in 1590. It conserved a hall with frescoes, marble medallions portraying four members of the Pettini family, and tombstones inscriptions. 
  • Museo della MedicinaMuseo Badessa[dead link] This museum is dedicated to the memory of the Doctor Ottavio Badessa. Born in 1898 in Bauso, nowadays called Villafranca Tirrena, he was graduated in Medicine in Naples and attended the Maternity Hospital of the “Università di Messina” and for thirty years he was being country doctor of Villafranca Tirrena. Every object exposed comes from the private collection of his son, the Doctor Paolo Badessa, Anaesthesia and Intensive care Head Physician at the hospitals of Solleftea (Sweden), Niscemi (Caltanissetta) and Patti (Messina). At the museum there are exposed many medical instruments, perfectly functioning, of every kind and speciality, collected with passion during more than 40 years in many Western countries. In memory of his father’s work, the collection was given at the town of Villafranca Tirrena in order to be shown in a museum built for the benefit of citizens, visitors and enthusiasts. The museum is in Via Rovere 1, Villafranca Tirrena.

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