Scilla is a seaside town in Calabria located on the Purple Coast (Costa Viola), part of the Reggio Calabria province. It is the traditional site of the sea monster Scylla of Greek mythology, mentioned in Homer's Odyssey, and a tourist destination resort located on the Strait of Messina, the narrow sea passage between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria.
A town of ancient origins blurred between history and legend, Scilla is notorious for its magnificent views of the Ruffo Castle, a fortress built by the Dukes of Calabria; for its beaches; for the charming neighborhood of Chianalea; for its outstanding seafood; and it has recently become one of the most popular tourist destinations. The position of the castle, stretched out on the sea of the Strait, forms two striking natural bays that develop on both sides, giving rise to the two districts of Marina Grande, the main beach, and Chianalea, a fishing village with charming, pastel houses built right into the cliffs along the shoreline. The historical center is the neighborhood of St. George, about 230 feet above sea level.
From the town, you can spot fishing boats especially equipped for catching swordfish, with a 22-meter sight pole and a 30-meter bridge (passerella). Standing on the edge of the bridge, fishermen harpoon the prey using a two thousand year old technique.
Speaking about the past, mythology tells us that Scylla was not always a sea-monster, she was a beautiful young nymph, daughter of Phorcys, a Greek sea-god. He was also the father of the Hesperides, Thoosa, as well as various monsters such as the Graeae, the Gorgons, and the dragon Ladon. The Cyclop Polyphemus was his grandson, a very interesting family!
Anyway, Glaucus, a marine god, fell in love with Scylla and declared his love but she ran away. Desperate, he went to Circe, a famous sorcerer, and asked for a love potion. Circe fell in love with Glaucus, she tried to seduce him, but the love-sick sea-god pushed her away. Instead of hurting Glaucus, she decided to make a special potion for Scylla, and she dropped it into her favorite little bay.
When Scylla went to take her daily swim, she saw six heads of ferocious dogs materializing around her. She tried to escape but the dog heads were attached to her body by snake-like long necks.
She went into hiding in the middle of the Strait of Messina, and the vicious dogs, that had mouths lined with a triple row of sharp teeth, devoured sailors passing through. In reality, the strait was feared since antiquity by all populations, due to strong marine currents.
Calabria is the only Italian region with three national parks, Aspromonte, Pollino and Sila, which house vast forests and numerous lakes, so if you get tired of the beach you know where to go.
Places of interest
- Grotte di Trémusa
- Fonte di Paolo Re
- Chiesa Maria SS. Immacolata
- Chiesa dello Spirito Santo (1752)
- Chiesa di San Giuseppe (1641)
- Chiesa di Porto Salvo (1730)
- Chiesa del Carmine
- Chiesa di San Rocco