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Scilla,  the legend that became a village

the legend that became a village

01 February 2021

Where Calabria turns its gaze towards Sicily

Scilla is a tiny Calabrian municipality to the north of Reggio Calabria, sitting on the coast between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the foothills of the Aspromonte Mountains. The ancient and legendary village of Scilla sits atop a high rocky outcrop rising from the sea of the Costa Viola (Violet Coast), so-named on account of the colour the sea takes on during certain parts of the day. A unique spot that CNN added to its list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, a seaside tourist destination capable of attracting writers, poets and artists from all over the world.
Here one can experience the history and culture of the sea, nurtured by the ancient Greek myth of Scylla and Charybdis. Legend has it that Scylla, an extraordinarily beautiful nymph, was transformed by the sorceress Circe, her rival in love, into a frightful sea monster with six dog-heads. From that moment on Scylla lived in the Strait of Messina, on the opposite side from Charybdis, and as soon as she saw sailors coming close to her side, she would devour them without mercy. Scylla was then transformed into a rock, perhaps the same one on which Chinalea, Scilla's ancient centre, is now located, dominated by the austere Castello dei Ruffo (Ruffo Castle) above. From here, taking in the view of the Costa Viola and the Strait of Messina is a simply breathtaking experience.
Chinalea, with its houses practically immersed in the sea and separated by narrow alleyways and steep stairways, is known as “the little Venice of the south”. According to the legend, ancient Chinalea was founded by Trojan exiles who built the first inhabited settlement right under the rocky cliff. Here time seems to have stood still, sculpted in a rarefied atmosphere of pleasant moments just waiting to be enjoyed. A short walk along the ancient centre's narrow alleyways takes the visitor on a voyage of discovery, enjoying wonderful views out towards the Sicilian coastline and becoming inebriated by the scent of sea air dispersed on the gentle breeze.

Local cuisine, traditional dishes, interesting facts

The key element of the local cuisine is swordfish, an ingredient used in many traditional dishes, either cooked in the oven, pan-fried or enjoyed with pasta, but often also prepared with a little twist by the village's plethora of restaurants and bistros. Swordfish also takes centre stage in August, during the Sagra del Pescespada (Swordfish Festival), when ancient fishing traditions are celebrated along with the village's most traditional cuisine

Where to eat enjoying a bottle
of Acqua San Benedetto

Ristorante Il Casato. Chianalea di Scilla

Ristorante Krataiis. Scilla

Ristorante De Angelis. Scilla

A unique experience, from the sea to the mountains

The coastline around Scilla offers small, secluded beaches that are difficult to access, but there are also a number of larger ones, with the most renowned being Marina Grande: a long strip of sand bounded by majestic rocks plunging steeply into the sea. Punta Pacì is an absolute must for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts, with its crystal clear waters and seabed teeming with marine life and vegetation. But in Scilla, going from the sea to the mountains is nothing more than a hop, skip, and a jump. Just a few kilometres away there's the Gambarie ski resort in the Aspromonte massif, renowned for the unique possibility it offers of being able to ski as you “look out to sea”.

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