Scylla, Chianalea and the Ruffo castle
Located at the northern entrance of the Strait of Messina, in a strategic position for navigation in the Mediterranean sea since ancient time, Scylla has a unique charm, as early as its mythical Greek name. The town is divided into three sections: the upper district of San Giorgio, the beach of Marina Grande and the fascinating village of fishermen “Chianalea”, all dominated by the imposing rocky crag jutting into the sea, surmounted by the Ruffo Castle.
Pearl of the Costa Viola (i.e. Violet Coast), Scylla has a hinterland that stretches up the slopes of the Aspromonte National Park. The verticality of this mountain, that plunges into the crystalline waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, offers visitors endless lookout points with wonderful panoramas.
Our easy excursion starts from the car park at the northern entrance to the Chianalea district, renowned for being one of the “most beautiful villages in Italy“, lying on the sea. Accessible only on foot, the village still retains the original structure with its narrow streets and stairways that end directly to the sea, with the nobles palaces and the old fishermen’s houses arranged in tiers and with the boats beached under the balconies. Not infrequently, at the slipways or at the small harbor, we meet the fishermen engaged to mend their nets or to fix the boats. Dislocated along the route, with splendid views open through the alleys to the sea, there are many interesting artistic fountains: the Little Mermaid, Three Channels, Ruffo’s, U Canaleddu. Arrived to the harbor, in the months from April to September, we can also admire the “passerelle”, typical boats, with a high tower and a long bow, used for swordfish in the Strait of Messina.
Going back a little behind, in the center of the district we take via Zagari that will lead us on the top of the rocky crag to the magnificent Ruffo Castle, Scylla’s emblem, where ancient myths and legends mingle with historical events. A first defensive structure was probably built during the Byzantine period in the VIII-IX century A.D., but it underwent many changes and renovations over the centuries, most recently in the thirteenth century by Charles of Anjou, in 1421 by De Nava and in 1542 by Ruffo. Even today you can admire its mighty walls, the access gates, the armory, the cisterns, the coats of arms, but the highlight is definitely the beautiful view that can be enjoyed from its summit: to the north, Chianalea and the Costa Viola up to Bagnara and Palmi; to the south, Marina Grande, the Strait and the coast of Sicily; to the west, the Aeolian islands and Stromboli.
Coming down from the cliff of the Scylla’s castle, through the alleys and stairways of Santo Spirito district, we reach the wide beach of Marina Grande, seaside neighborhood where you can taste good ice creams and granitas, enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the Ruffo castle and the Strait of Messina.
|Starting location||Parking area of Chianalea|
|Arrival location||Marina Grande Beach (near the Railway Station)|
|Difference in altitude||Around 70 m|
|Minimum altitude||0 m|
|Maximum altitude||700 m above sea level (Ruffo Castle)|
|Time||Around 2 hours 30’, with stop for visiting the Castle|
|Periods of accessibility||Always|