Scilla (RC)


Scilla is an important tourist resort of the Violet Coast, so-called because of the color that water reflects at particular times of the day. Scilla enchants visitors with its Castle overlooking the sea, the colorful houses leaning on each other, the views of the Strait of Messina and Sicily. History blends with mystery, recalling the myths and legends of Ulysses fighting against Scylla and Charybdis, told by Homer and Dante Alighieri. Scilla hamlet has very ancient origins, probably dating to the time of the destruction of Troy. The town’s name derives from the mythological figure of Scylla, a young nymph who refused Glauco’s love. He thus went to the sorceress Circe, who was in love with him, and ask her to help him win Scylla’s heart. The offended sorceress poisoned the sea-pool where the nymph used to bathe, turning her into a horrific six dog-headed monster who destroyed every ship crossing the Strait of Messina. The main economic activities in the area are tourism, agriculture and fishing. Farm products include olives, figs, vegetables and selected citrus fruits. As for fishing, swordfish hunting through the “spadare” was, and still is, the main traditional activity. In Scilla, the mountains are very close to the sea; a few-kilometer drive through the hills of the Melia area leads to Gambarie, a renowned ski resort in the municipality of Santo Stefano d'Aspromonte. Scilla had a strategic position, and it was fortified by the Greeks after Anaxilas had fought off the Tyrrhenian pirates. The castle was first built probably in the 4th or 3rd century B.C., a very ancient time that indicates that Scilla and its population suffered hard historical events and were forced to defend themselves against the continuous raids. Scilla people were involved in the several wars that characterized the Roman period, till the Hungarian siege of 1712. The town was a disputed fief for many centuries till 1806, and some years later it became a municipality (1811). The variety of the Violet Coast lands provides for the ingredients of traditional sea and delicacies from the Pre-Aspromonte hills: cheeses, cold cuts, mushrooms and vegetables in olive oil, grilled aubergines and dried tomatoes, olives in oil, fried courgette flowers, ragoût and goat and pork meat sauces for home-made pasta, the "maccarrùni i casa". The main fish dishes are based on local products including swordfish, silver scabbardfish, garfish, sunfish, sauries, various shellfish and octopuses. Traditional scabbardfish-based recipes (spatola alla "scigghitàna"), with specific doses of vinegar and mixed herbs growing among terraced grapevine rows, confirm that the main activities of the town are agriculture and fishing. Traditional cookies are produced during the feast periods, and include "mustacciòli"o "'nzuddhi", "piparèlle", "susumèlle", "petrali" made with honey, almonds and flavored dried figs. Custards, desserts and lemon, orange and bergamot liqueurs always come at the end of the meal.


Address Piazza San Rocco
  89058 Scilla (RC)
Phone number 0965 754003
Fax 0965 754704


In summer, a great number of tourists are added to Scilla population; one of the main attractions of the town is the traditional swordfish hunting that, as early as late spring, takes place in the Strait with the passerelle, the boats that are heirs of luntri used to catch swordfish with vedetta and harpoon, according to the old method of the Phoenicians. Chianalea sea bottoms are characterized by rocks and vegetation and they are the destination of scuba divers and geologists.

The ancient Scyllaeum is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It has a population of about five thousand people, with a fishing-based economy, and is one of the most charming places in Calabria. The Ruffo Castle stands on the Scilla cliff overlooking the amphitheater-shaped town: the district of Marina Grande (the beach of the mermaids) to the south and the picturesque fisherman village of Chianalea to the north, where houses stand on the rocks and the narrow streets face the wonderful landscape of the Strait of Messina. The Castle was damaged, together with the rest of the village, by the earthquake in 1783. The main beach is Marina Grande where the Church of Spirito Santo is located. A panoramic viewpoint stands in San Rocco square, in front of the Town Hall, and the swordfish monument, the symbol of Scilla, rises in the same area. The following landmarks deserve a visit. The Church of Maria Santissima Immacolata, originally built in the Paleo-Christian age, was reconstructed in the 17th and 19th centuries and it has now the features of the last 20th-century remodeling. The Church of San Rocco, the patron saint of the town, was built in the 15th century and it was severely damaged in the 1908 earthquake. The Tremusa Cave, located outside the village, presents characteristic concretions and a deposit of white shells.

The Church of Maria Santissima Immacolata, of Norman or Swabian origin, was originally built in the Paleo-Christian Age: it is the most important monument in Scilla. The 15th-century Church of San Rocco, the patron saint of the town, deserves a visit.