The Castle of Scilla Ruffo , sometimes also known as the Castello Ruffo di Calabria , is an ancient fort situated on the promontory Scillèo , leaning on the Strait of Messina (formerly “Strait of Scylla” ). The Castle is the genius loci of the town of Scilla , about 20 km north of Reggio Calabria , and certainly one of the most characteristic and typical of the landscape of the Straits and the district of Reggio Calabria. The castle is also home to one of the headlights of the Navy , the Lighthouse of Scilla .Excavations have uncovered walls of the Basilian monastery of St. Pancras , built in the mid- ninth century as a defense against Saracen invasions. In 1060 , the siege of Reggio by the Norman Roger , and Robert Guiscard , the castle of Scylla resisted for a long time and surrendered only for hunger. In 1255 , by order of Manfredi , Pietro Ruffo strengthened it further by making it a fortress garrison, while in the thirteenth century the castle was further fortified by Charles of Anjou . In 1469 King Ferdinand I of Naples gave the castle to Gutierrez De Nava , a Castilian knight of the Aragonese court and Germany (from whom descended the De Nava of Reggio ), who had provided new expansion and renovation.In 1533 the castle was bought by Paul Ruffo , who decided to restore the baronial palace because in 1578 the family Ruffo obtained the title of Prince . The strong earthquake of 1783 , which damaged the whole area of the Strait and the southern part of Calabria, did not spare the Castle of Scilla which become the property of the State of the State in1808 , and was restored in 1810 .
The terrible earthquake of 1908 destroyed most of the ancient structure of the castle, while in 1913 the upper part was closed to accommodate the lighthouse . Then during the Fascist perio it was divided into several rooms for apartments for employees and public officials use, that contributed to the damage to what remained of the structure. For the last thirty years the castle was used as a youth hostel, but now after a new restoration, was destined to become a cultural center and hosts the Regional Centre for the recovery of the Calabrian town centers and is home to exhibitions and conferences. The Castle of Scilla stands on the promontory that divides the two beaches of Marina Grande and Chianalea. The building has an irregular plan with parts dating from different periods but overall still keeps fairly homogeneous configuration of a fortress with curtain walls, towers and loopholes.The entrance is preceded by the bridge that leads to the building whose main room features the stone portal built with a pointed arch , which stands on the coat of arms of Ruffo and the plaque commemorating the restoration of the castle done in the sixteenth century .After passing the entrance hall opens to a courtyard once lowered, and from there, along the grand staircase, you reach the entrance of the residence. This has large rooms, having been owned by one of the wealthiest and important families of the kingdom of Naples
Given the dominance of the castle in the Strait of Messina , in 1913 a lighthouse was built to provide a reference to ships crossing the Strait. The Lighthouse of Scilla, a small white tower with black base, is still active and is managed by the Navy.
Calabria is at the very southernmost tip of Italy and filled with magnificent, rugged mountains. Chestnuts, olives, lemon and orange trees, almonds and figs all thrive in this climate. Having the longest coastline in Italy and breathtakingly beautiful white sandy beaches the waters around Calabria give fishermen the perfect place to bring tuna, swordfish, sardines, lobsters, shrimps and anchovies in, which are simply cooked or preserved in the wonderful olive oil of the region.
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