Where Is The Strait Of Messina?

Feluca at dawn, the boats for swordfish hunting in the Strait of Messina, Sicily, Italy.

Strait Of Messina

A strait is a narrow waterway formed by natural means that connects two larger bodies of water. Straits are sometimes navigable, depending on factors such as width and depth. The Strait of Messina is a strait in the south of Italy, between the island of Sicily and Calabria, which connects the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea, both of which are part of the larger Mediterranean Sea. The Strait of Messina has a width of approximately 1.9 miles at its narrowest point, between Villa San Giovanni and Torre Faro, and a maximum depth of about 820 feet. The strait contains diverse marine life, which is attributed to strong tidal currents, and its natural whirlpool is associated with the legend of Scylla and Charybdis in Greek mythology. 

Marine Life

The strong tidal currents in the Messina Strait have resulted in a unique marine ecosystem that contains a diverse range of species. This ecosystem is described as closely resembling the marine environment of the Atlantic Ocean. For example, certain species such as the laminariae, which are primarily found within the Atlantic, thrive in the Strait of Messina. The strait also has a large presence of bathypelagic fauna, which includes Chauliodus sloani and Myctophum punctatum. Fish species in the Strait of Messina include Sloane's viperfish (Chauliodus sloani), which is a deep-sea fish that often becomes stranded in the strait due to the strange currents.

In addition to species endemic to the Strait of Messina, other forms of marine life pass through the strait as part of a migratory route. Examples include tuna, Mediterranean Spearfish, swordfish, Atlantic bonito, and other pelagic fish species. As a result, the strait is important to the local fishing industry. Whale diversity is also extremely high within the waterway due to the high levels of Cetacea migrations, including fin and sperm whales.

Bird Migration

The Strait of Messina is an important part of the annual migratory route of numerous bird species. Approximately 300 species migrate through the region each year, often to northern Europe for breeding. These species include the European honey buzzard, Egyptian vulture, Bonelli's eagle, and black-winged stilt.


Ferry service operates in the Strait of Messina between the Sicilian city of Messina and the town of Villa San Giovanni on mainland Italy. A hydrofoil also operates between Reggio Calabria on the mainland and Messina. There has also been the prospect of building a bridge over the strait. The project was canceled in 2006, but revived three years later in 2009, under the government of Silvio Berlusconi. The government pledged €1.3 billion of funding for the project, which has an estimated cost of €6.1 billion. The plan included a bridge that is approximately 2 miles in length and has a width of 200 feet. However, the project was never completed after being canceled again in February 2013.


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