Location and Area

Travelling along the north coast from Messina to Palermo, you can see a bright and green landscape, an incredible view of sea and mountains, where there are several small villages founded a long time ago by fishermen, and beaches of sand and small stones (Ganzirri, Torre Faro, Acqualadrone, S. Saba).
The main road that runs across northern coastal area is Via Consolare Pompea which was built by Pompeius when he arrived in Sicily to fight Porsena, consequently named by historians Via Pompea.
The most important characteristic of the Ganzirri/Torre Faro area is no doubt the two salty lakes called the Big and the Small lakes, where seafish culture (mainly mussels) is carried out, for trade but also for tradition.
There are many legends connected to the lakes. One has it that in the big lake in Torre Faro, where the water is very deep, the whole city of Risa just sunk suddenly, with all its inhabitants, and at certain times you can see the walls of the city and at midnight hear the pealing of bells.
Todat the lakes are connected to the sea thanks to canals built by the British around 1830. One is called Canale Catuso and it is situated in the southern part of the lake, and the other is called Due Torri, and it is in the northern part. Tha small lake flows into the Tyrrhenian sea through the British canal and into the strait of Messina through the Canale Faro or Canalone.
One of the oldest and most traditional activities is without any doubt swordfish fishing in the Strait of Messina using the traditional fishing boats. This usually takes place at the beginning of summer, when swordfish migrate from Scilla, Bagnara and Palmi in Calabria back to Sicily. Unfortunately this fishing technique has been replaced by other more aggressive ones, like the one using longlines with hundreds of hooks that will indiscriminately pull up anything ranging from small swordfish to tunas, to dolphins and small whales. That said, the traditional method involving the chase (or “hunt” as locals refer to it) of the swordfish and the use of the harpoon is the most traditional and spectacular one, carried out over the centuries more or less in the same way, especially in the last phase where the fish is finally caught and pulled in.
Fishing with the harpoon is possible due to the fact that the swordfish, by nature a very agile predator, fast and intelligent, strangely at the end of April usually appears in the shores of the strait of Messina and surrounding areas in relatively shallow waters. It doesn’t pay attention to dangers, usually playing with its mate, and it can be reached easily by the fishing boats that start the “hunt”. This means that once it has been spotted, it can’t get away.
In the last thirty years, fishing with harpoons, has been carried out on motorized boats called “passarelle” (very long planks) or with its traditional term “felucca”. These boats are today open to visitors who want to live that thrilling experience.
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