Scilla is a centre full of evocative fascination,
situated along the Southern Tyrrhenian Coasts
of Sicily, a few kilometres north of Reggio Calabria.
Mythology narrates that Scilla was a beautiful young girl,
daughter of Niso, who was King of Megara. She was loved by
the marine god Glauco, and transformed, by a wizard named
Circe, into a monster with six heads of ferocious dogs who
devoured sailors passing through the Strait of Messina.
The truth states that this sea passage was feared since antiquity
by all populations, due to strong marine currents.
The name derives from the Phoenician skoula (rock) or Greek
skola (dog) or Skylla, later translated into Latin as Scylla
Some historians, like Strabone and Polibio, say that Scilla
was founded at the time of the Trojan War (XII century BC).
History instead, calls into cause the first time Scilla clashed
with Tyrrhenian pirates who were settled in this coastal area,
and the tyrant of Reggio Calabria, Anassilao (493 BC).
The place therefore became an important fortified post to
preside over the Tyrrhenian coasts, noted under the Romans
by the name of Oppidum Scyllaeum, being protagonist of some
historical events. Slaves, guided by Spartaco, took refuge
here during the revolt of 73 BC. Here, ships belonging to
Ottaviano, which were engaged in civil clashes with the fleets
of the young Pompeo (42 C), arrived in search of mooring.
During the Imperial Era, the centre lost importance and was
excluded from Via Popilia, which united Capua to Reggio, but
preserved a certain marine importance, as recorded by San
Gerolano who stayed here in 385 during his journey towards
After the end of the Roman Empire, Scilla was firstly integrated
into the Odoacre Reign (476), then the Ostrogoth Reign (494),
therefore facing a period of continual sieges and plundering
by the Vandals, allocated in Africa.
In 535, the Byzantine General Belisario, finally defeated
the Vandals, and through the Greek-Gothic War (535-553), cancelled
the Ostrogoths from history by annexing the whole of Southern
Italy to the Eastern Roman Empire.
Between the VIII and X centuries, Basilian Monks arrived in
Calabria, and founded a monastery in Scilla and a church known
during ancient times as San Pancrazio. It was destroyed by
an earthquake during 1783.
Beginning during the IX century, Scilla and the Calabrian
coasts were objects of raids by bands of Saracens, by now
owners of Sicily during '827, and who also managed to conquer
and dominate the city for a short period of time.
When the Normans (1062), conquered the City, they were however
opposed by the population who locked themselves in the Castle.
Scilla obtained commercial privileges under their successors,
the Swabians, who fortified (1255) on the wishes of Ruffo,
who was by now in open conflict with Manfredi, son of the
deceased Emperor Frederick II of Swabia.
The Angioinians conquered Calabria and Sicily (1269), but
the breakout of the Vespri Siciliani (Sicilian Vespers –
Palermo 30th March 1282) rapidly reached the Calabrian coasts,
and therefore also seeing the attack of Scilla.
In 1421, the Castle was assigned to Guterra De Nava.
The 1783 earthquake devastated Scilla and a large part of
Calabria, changing the face of the millenarian suburb. Whatever
was left standing was then damaged and cancelled by the 1908
A visit to the City
Scilla is a place of great fascination that reminds its visitor
of ancient mysteries and a millenarian history, which never
ceases to astonish. The visit is accompanied by continual
panoramic views over the Tyrrhenian Sea, a founding element
of the village's spirit. Up until a few years ago, fishing
was in fact the base for the main economy of the suburb. Sword
Fish was the traditional catch and was fished since Magna
The Ruffo Castle stands on the top of the famous cape which
is wedged over the sea, leaving the beautiful beaches of Scilla,
an annual tourist spot, on either side.
The presence of a fortification on the rocks is drowned in
the distant past and is not definable in certain terms. Near
here, in the Marina Grande district, is where one will come
across the Spirito Santo Church (1752).
The Maria SS Immaculate Church, founded during the Paleochristian
era, was rebuilt after being brought to the ground by an earthquake
To complete the panorama of cult buildings of Scilla, we would
like to point out: the San Giuseppe Church (1641), with its
beautiful portal, the Carmine Church, the San Rocco Church,
constructed to celebrate the end of the Plague and finally
the 18th century Porto Salvo Church.
The Chianalea fishing suburb is interesting and characteristic.
The centre, a yearly seaside tourist spot, is very active
during the summer season when shows and concerts are programmed:
and the Scillese Summer.
The Trémusa Grottoes are interesting from a naturalistic
point of view.
Place of interest
- 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
- Grotte di Trémusa
- Fonte di Paolo Re
- In costruzione...
- Estate Scillese da maggio ad ottobre
- Premio Internazionale Scilla in ottobre
- Festa di San Rocco il 16 agosto