Transit Messina Strait, Italy (Cruise-by cruises

Greek legends, migrating wildlife, and the occasional mirage make a journey through the Strait of Messina a uniquely fascinating voyage.

Connecting the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian Sea, between the Eastern tip of Sicily and Western Calabria, the narrow waterway of Italy’s Strait of Messina provides passage to more than 300 migrating birds and is a hotbed of biodiversity.

Swordfish migrate here annually between May and July, and can regularly be sighted along the water’s surface, while storks, flamingos, Egyptian vultures, and record numbers of birds of prey are among the Strait of Messina’s regular feathered visitors.

Just 3 kilometers (a little shy of 2 miles) at its narrowest point, and with a naturally occurring whirlpool at its northern tip, the Strait has been linked to the Greek legend of Scylla and Charybdis; two opposing sea monsters believed to have inhabited the waters in ancient times.

Fata Morgana, or mirages, have also been known to appear on the horizon here. Historically thought to be conjured up by sorceresses to lure unsuspecting sailors, these mirages take shape when the atmosphere is just so and have been witnessed when looking towards Sicily from Calabria.

Combined with spectacular coastal scenery, including the mountain ranges of Monte Dinnammare and Peloritani, a sail along the Strait of Messina holds the promise of many magical encounters.