paradise lost with decibels, swords and squid ink

From the terrace of Piazza San Rocco you can enjoy wonderful views, Sicily, the Strait, the Ruffo Castle, Marina Grande And Chianaleathe two zones off Scylla most crowded with holidaymakers. I found out that it has been in operation since last year an elevator which from the square leads down to the seafront in a few seconds. At a price of one euro. Providential, especially if you want to walk up from the seafront, because with the heat these days, the stairs would not be comfortable. The lift takes off in a clearing, next to the Church of the Holy Spirit. The perfect name for this ascent to the historic center, and a few moments of tranquility, compared to the hustle and bustle below.

The inauguration of the Scilla lift with the then acting President of the Region, Nino Spirlì

Around piazza San Rocco uphill roads are quiet, lonely. Very few clubs, little traffic, except on the avenue that leads down, where an uninterrupted row of cars and motorcycles is channeled. What to do in Scilla if you do not enjoy traffic on State 18 and along the boardwalk? The elevator is good for the timid like me. Those who once parked the car do not dare to tempt fate, crossing the giant garbage truck on the basket with a legendary driver like the old sailors of this beautiful village.

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The vantage point for Piazza San Rocco in Scilla

From the Odyssey to Horcynus Orca

A place immersed in myths, yes in myths, it sums up and evokes almost all of them. Even now that sailing no longer represents an adventure like in Ulysses’ time, and the giant ships passing in the distance certainly do not fear the whirlpools and dangers of Scyllas and Charybdis. This sea, sung by the verses of Homerin recent times has inspired Horcynus Orcathe novel of Stefano D’Arrigofrom 1975.

A literary park remembers it, even though it is based in Sicily. In Palmi, a museum is dedicated to Leonida Repacithe disturbances of Previtocciolo from Don Luca Asprea they had as a background Oppido Mamertina and elsewhere in this area so rich in writers.

Also increase the volume and temperature

The morning spent on one of the beaches in Marina Grande confirmed to me that Scilla has now consolidated its success, all the Italian dialects and many foreign languages ​​cross each otherdominated more and more by the music that increases in intensity with increasing temperature.

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By bike overlooking the Sea of ​​Scilla (photo Gianfranco Donadio)

The animators of the coasts lead the battle with decibels, gathering the troops and leading them to the final confrontation. Younger children in this chaos seem lost, they feel they are not the center of attention. They feel neglected and cry, the lucky ones manage to fall asleep. I remember the holidays sixties in the last century, when the marinas were quiet but babies were taken to the beach at dawn and dusk to protect them from the sun and then taken home. Now even the grandmothers are in bikinis and drinking beerduring the heat wave.

Swordfish and squid ink

We have lunch on the beach as no one comes home to cook, speaking of past habits. Squid sandwich and arancini of the same color, filled with eggplant parmigiana and swordfish are the most popular.. They look like cannonballs, they are good, but where do they find all these squid and swordfish? In black and white documentary by Vittorio De Setaturned around here, plowed the swords pushed by oars through the Sound in search of their prey. Hours of effort to identify a swordfish, maybe two, if you managed to catch the female first, the male in this case committed suicide by surrendering spontaneously. Knight costumes from other ages. Now the big offshore fishing vessels are sucking up all the sea creatures. Even the sirens would not have a chance if there were. There is nothing romantic to tell.

Lunch marks the paroxysmal moment of life on the beach, the release of instincts and the will to overwhelm. Women compete with bikini strokes, men flaunt manly with their bellies.
All of the umbrella residents challenge each other with orders. Four of Luzzi’s boys order a bottle of sparkling wine, then another, which is brought under the umbrella with the regulating bucket. A triumph, photos and videos in all poses. How can I compete with my bottle of natural mineral? There will be one Grandpa’s Cup in edition particularnumbered?

Scilla and Cardinal Ruffo

Meanwhile, the animators continue to excite their audience, to increase the volume of the music again. I can not stand, I go back to the hotel, a few steps, and I’m safe. In these districts, in 1799, Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo organized his army of peasants to advance against the Jacobins of the Neapolitan Republic.. Scylla and Bagnara they were len of his family, the peasants flocked to thousands convinced that they were fighting to defend the faith. In a few months, they marched against Naples and massacred the southern revolutionaries.
In the afternoon, half asleep, Cardinal Ruffo appears to me on the walls of the family castle. He frowns at the screaming crowds on the beach. But had he not eliminated all these loose enemies of the faith? He targets the cannons with strange bullets, they look like squid squid sandwiches. Order eradication of bathers. At the first cannon shot, I wake up unharmed.

Tourists bathe on the beach at the foot of Ruffo di Scilla Castle

How to apply another way to enjoy the holidays? Without necessarily thinking of historical reconstructions, this legacy so rich in myths and stories could perhaps be improved in some way. A path, an evening of text reading, a virtual museum. In a country, a bookstore may not seem to hold up, but would not all books inspired by these places deserve visibility? I do not think there is only one model for the development of tourism, namely the Adriatic coast, Rimini and its surroundings. I remember Scilla many years ago when people were strolling between the fishermen’s houses.

A fisherman in Chianalea

Scilla, a village for tourists

There transformation villages like Scilla, but also art towns, in an uninterrupted series of clubs and houses for tourists it shows its limits. If you exaggerate it, why it’s worth going to a particular place, why they all end up being the same. In Chianalea you can now hardly walk between a restaurant and a pub, between a shop in souvenir and an agency where many resident families will still be present? Meanwhile, in the historic center, there are no signs of activity despite the elevator and panoramic views. Perhaps these positive developmental phenomena should be managed and addressed.

Both moored in Scilla

After two days in Marina Grande, I drive along State Road 18 toward Bagnara Calabra, along old mills. The lands destroyed by earthquake in 1908 they are recognized for the general city plan for the reconstruction, parallel streets, low and modest buildings. In Bagnara the beach is very long, there are beaches and large stretches of free beach, the situation seems calm to me. Prices seem low. A spadara passes over the sea, as in the documentary of De Seta. We settle down in a lido, with hidden conspiratorial movements I roll through today’s gastronomic suggestions. I find the squid squid sandwiches and many exotic names that evoke Florida and the Caribbean. It does not matter, Homer and Ulysses should rather not become names for wraps and pizzas. At the moment, the animation is silent. Let’s hope they do not notice our presence.

Mario de Filippis

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