The Strait of Messina has been an amazing place of geographical importance since ancient times, a paradise of marine biodiversity that also has many pitfalls.
Since ancient times, the Strait has been considered a very dangerous stretch of sea. This is because its currents can reach up to 9 km per hour and it has two opposite flows:
- The rising remainder. Running from south to north.
- The descending remainder. Running from north to south.
If today with powerful engines it is still a treacherous stretch of water, we invite you to imagine it many years ago when boats used human power, with oars, and the wind to cross the oceans and seas.
We invite you to take a tour through history with us so that when you visit you will know more about this magnificent sun-kissed land of ours.
Scylla and Charybdis: the Strait of Messina in the Homeric epics
Scylla dwells there, that harassing cries / Of sending no rest. Her voice / does not seem to be anything but a perpetual wailing / Of a dog's suckling: but Scylla is an atrocious / Monster, and even a god, who made himself to her, / would not look at her without disgust. (Odyssey, XII canto)
As we mentioned, the strait has always been a famous and infamous stretch of sea, so much so that the writer and poet Homer included Scylla and Charybdis in his Odyssey: the sea monsters that Ulysses had to face.
But what are they really? The oldest and most famous of these are called Scilla, or Colei che Dilania (she is right in front of Alta Fiumara and Punto Pezzo), and Cariddi, also known as Colei che suucchia (she who sucks in). This vortex, known in technical terms as garofalo, is formed in front of the lighthouse beach.
Who would have thought that by studying curiosities on the strait we would have crossed the great epic? We did! Because we knew that our Sicily is unique and beautiful.
The other rock, lower down you'll see, Odysseus, / close to each other, / from one you could hit the other with an arrow. / On this there's a large fig tree, rich in leaves; / and under Charybdis gloriously absorbs the livid water. / Three times a day he vomits it and three times he reabsorbs it / fearfully. Ah, may you not be there when she reabsorbs. (Odyssey XII canto).
Ah, before we forget: Virgil, the great Latin poet, also described Charybdis in his Aeneid. We really are famous, aren't we?
The Strait of Messina today
Having lost its mystical and legendary connotations, the Strait of Messina remains an important commercial and tourist gateway, and many ferries to and from Sicily pass through it every day, as do goods and much more.
Crossing the Strait towards Messina has now become really easy and it only takes 20 minutes to find yourself on our beautiful island.
Many snorkelling and diving enthusiasts also venture into the safer waters of the strait to discover its unique marine flora and fauna. small laboratory of everything that can be found in the Mediterranean.