Made famous by the epic poet Homer, as home of a terrible monster, that from a high cliff, used to attack the vessels that passed below, Scilla is a town in the province of Reggio Calabria, located on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town's foundation goes back to the IV century B.C. and its strategic location at the mouth of the Strait of Messina, was often subject of contest over the centuries. In the IX century, the town was occupied by the Saracens and later by the Normans in 1060. Subsequently it became the center of contention between Angevin and Aragonese. Scilla, despite the serious damage reported during the two earthquakes of 1783 and 1908, still preserves the essential characteristics of late XVIII century reconstruction. It is possible to identify different areas, that today compose the main centre: the Castle that dominates the great promontory; the inner part that was built around the main church, and the two fishing districts of Marina Grande and Chianalea, the latter with houses built practically on the shore of the sea, which makes it distinctive and unique.
Sites of Interest:
- the Ruffo Castle, which is situated on a rock jutting out into the sea, occupying the entire outcrop with its massive size. It was edified in the XIII century by the Ruffo, Lords of the city and submitted renovations throughout the XVI to the XIX centuries. The first witnessed evidence of the importance of this promontory dates back to the ages of the tyrant of Reggio Anassila in 493 B.C., while in the Byzantine era it was the site of a monastic community and in the Middle Ages, the Normans made it a stronghold for the conquest of Sicily;
- the Church of Immaculate Conception, which dominates the coastline. It stands where once stood a smaller church dedicated to St. Mary Catholic, already documented in 1310. Enlarged several times, it was completely rebuilt in 1958 after the disastrous earthquake of 1908. Inside it is possible to admire fine XVIII century masterpieces, like the marble altar and the carved and gilded wooden throne in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament;
- the Church of the Holy Spirit, whose Bell Tower stands out among the houses of the village of Marina Grande. Built in 1752 by Antonio Brancati of Messina, it was almost entirely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1783. The stone façade is decorated with an elegant portal. Inside it preserves a main altar and four side altars in polychrome marble, all of XVIII century Sicilian manufacture;
- the picturesque village of Chianalea, which has kept intact its XVI-XVII century appearance, with its narrow alleyways and houses built on the seashore. Interesting are its two XVIII century churches: the Church of Santa Maria di Portosalvo, rebuilt here in 1790 after the earthquake of 1783, and the Church of St. Joseph, located the far end of the district, characterized by a smaller room that leads into the church itself, accessible through a beautiful gold plated portal, enriched with twisted columns that feature floral decorations;
- the Fountain of the Tre Cannelle, named so for the presence of three spouts, decorated with huge masks that enrich a large tank, located on the top of a staircase. The central mask is the oldest and is dated 1610;
- the XVIII century fountain Ruffo, placed in a niche decorated with a shell shaped sculpture.