Ruffo Castle in Scilla

Landscape and Myth Ruffo Castle in Scilla

Ruffo Castle in Scilla stands out against the promontory overlooking the wonderful wide valley where the small town of the point of the Strait is located. Its exceptional strategic position has made it an important bastion of the branch of the sea that divides Calabria from Sicily since ancient times.

Set in the rock that overhangs the sea from which Ulysses sailed and home for the mythical sea creatures Scylla and Charybdis, it has always kept watching this crucial way of communication in the Mediterranean sea.

It was fortified by the tyrant of Reggio Anassilaos during the Magno-Greek period and it was also used later under Roman and Byzantine dominance. The Basilian monks, particularly active in Calabria, placed here the monastery of San Pancrazio, that was established around the IX century in order to defend from the incursions of the Saracens who controlled Sicily.

The subsequent conquests of Normans under Roberto the Guiscardo, of Swabian and of Angevin accentuated the defensive function of the stronghold. In 1533 it was bought by the Ruffos, a Calabrian family, which turned it into a baronial residence.

It was damaged by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1908 and it was reconditioned more than ones during the twentieth century to give the final settlement of the fortress that it is possible to see nowadays. State-owned, it was also a youth hostel in the 70s. Today it houses the Regional Office for the recovery of Calabrian historic centres and it is also place for exhibitions, conferences and events.

For the particular position on the Scilla spur and also for the many rehars it went through, the castle develops in height and it has an irregular plan with buildings dating back to different eras. Its charm remains intact, however, due to the presence of curtains, defensive towers and loopholes. The access road is constituted by a steep slope that leads to a bridge. Therefore, you will pass a stone portal with a pointed arch above which you can see the noble coat of arms of the Ruffo family and a plaque showing the work of restructuring of the noble family. Continue uphill through a lowered vaulted entrance hall, and to a subsequent external staircase that leads to the rooms of the residence. There are several rooms and halls that now are used in many different ways. The Super Intendency for Architectural Landscape and Environmental Heritage of Calabria has discovered a series of places of historical interest, the foundations of the oldest nucleus of the residence, the chapel and the cisterns. At the top, there is the lighthouse, a military garrison and some recent constructions.

The entire tour develops in height and there are numerous panoramic points, sometimes tiny windows, from which it is possible to admire the northen side that overlooks the open sea and the Aeolian Islands, with the characteristic fishing village of Chianalea at its feet and the small port, and the southern side where it is possible to admire Marina Grande, the beautiful Scilla basin beach. Then the view widens to the sea and the two lands lying in that stretch of water crossed by the sinuous currents of the Strait. A marvelous sight fills the eyes of the visitor immersed in the thousand blue of the Mediterranean sea. But here also the sounds have something magical and mysterious. In the less calm days, the waves break on the mighty rocks, with such a din that it is not difficult to imagine the reason why the ancients thought it was the place where lived sea monsters and sirens.

Here it is not possible to escape the charm of the myth that always returns to whisper.


The stages are:Monument dedicated to Nino MartinoNino Martino Ski SlopeAbetazzoTremusa CavernsSea bottoms

Monument dedicated to Nino Martino

The Nino Martino square is a symbolic place of this territory where history and nature are inextricably intertwined and where popular culture consecrates its epic made up of earth, rocks, trees, but also of anger and struggles.


It is found a magnificent specimen of silver fir in the area near to Piazza Nino Martino. 32 meters high, with a circumference of almost five meters, it is known for its particular majesty and charm that makes it to be included in the national monumental trees.

Sea bottoms

The village of Scilla is located on an impressive rocky spur overlooking the sea. The sea that breaks on these rocks has unique sea bottoms made by an extraordinary emerged and submerged morphology.

Nino Martino Ski Slope

Inaugurata nel gennaio 2019, è una pista classificata rossa, ossia di difficoltà media. Lunga circa 1,6 km, sorge tra i 1400 e i 1825 metri. Oltre lo sci a stile libero è anche possibile praticare lo sci di fondo.

Tremusa Caverns

Located at 530 meters above sea level, today the caverns are a destination for history and geology enthusiasts. The place is full of charm and offers glimpses of the suggestive cliffs of the Costa Viola overlooking the sea and the Strait of Messina.

Landscape and Myth Naturalistic virtual tour of Scilla

The digital tour is accessible for the visitors of the Ruffo Castle in Scilla, where a special area is dedicated to the viewing of videos through a touch screen and by consulting a website dedicated to the project:


Enjoy your visit!

Landscape and myth

Work Patronized by th Aspromonte Park Institution.
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