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Scilla: a picturesque town steeped in myth and maritime traditions

By Tuesday, 21 May 2024 09:02

Scilla, situated at the tip of the Calabria region, just under 20 kilometres from Reggio Calabria, is a fascinating town rooted in Greek mythology and maritime traditions. 

A town on the Strait of Messina

This picturesque town lies between the crystal-clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the slopes of the Aspromonte mountain range, offering breathtaking views and an atmosphere steeped in history and legend. The link between Scilla and the sea is inseparable. The waters of the Strait of Messina, with their unpredictable currents and depths rich in marine life, have always been a fundamental resource for the inhabitants of this town. Maritime traditions, handed down from generation to generation, live on through fishing and the numerous celebrations held throughout the year.

mini Chianalea2Chianalea

Chianalea, the fishermen's district

One of Scilla's most characteristic districts is Chianalea, also known as The Venice of the South and considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. This ancient fishing village has houses built directly on the rocks, overlooking the sea. The narrow streets of Chianalea, lined with stone houses and with small boats moored at the quays, create a fascinating labyrinth where time seems to stand still. Walking along cobbled streets you catch glimpses of colourful doors facing the sea, old wooden fishing boats and flower-decked balconies that give the quarter a romantic and authentic atmosphere. The transparent waters lapping Chianalea are a paradise for divers and snorkellers, offering the chance to explore the rich marine ecosystem.

Scilla

The August swordfish hunting ritual  

Scilla is also famous for its traditional swordfish hunting, an ancient practice now controlled and carried out with respect for the fish and the sea, that takes place in the waters of the Strait of Messina. This tradition, which has its roots in antiquity, is a ritual that combines skill, knowledge of the sea and a deep respect for nature. Swordfish hunting takes place during the summer months, when the fish migrate through the Strait to reproduce. Scylla’s fishermen still use felucca rowing boats with a long central mast, from which a crew member, the helmsman, spots the swordfish. The fishermen then silently approachs, and the harpooner throws his harpoon with precision and dexterity. This practice, besides representing a source of livelihood for the local community has, over time, become a tourist attraction, luring visitors curious to witness the fascinating spectacle. The swordfish hunt is celebrated every year in August with a festival that pays tribute to the fishermen and their tradition, offering tourists the chance to taste typical dishes based on fresh swordfish.

Golden beaches, history, culture and nature 

Today Scilla is a popular tourist destination, combining ancient traditions with the demands of modern tourism. The beaches of Marina Grande, with their golden sand and well-equipped lidos, offer relaxation and comfort to those seeking a sea and sun break. Ruffo Castle, dominating the town from the top of a promontory, is another must-see and offers spectacular panoramic views of the coast and the Strait. Scilla, with its unique mix of history, culture and natural beauty, is an ideal destination for anyone wishing to discover the authentic soul of Calabria. The Chianalea district and the tradition of swordfish hunting are just two of the many aspects that make this a fascinating and unforgettable place. You can reach Scilla from Reggio Calabria by train www.trenitalia.it or by car.To get to Reggio Calabria by plane there are many domestic and international flights  https://www.reggiocalabriaairport.it/ and it is also accessible by train. For information: https://turismo.reggiocal.it/  

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