Scopello Tonnara, Sicily - Pictures & Images of - { 19 images } Created 17 Feb 2018

Pictures photos and images of the picturesque Scopello Tonnara, Castellmare del Golfo, Sicily. On the coast near to the small village of Scopello on the Golfo del Castellmare in Sicily is a picturesque tonnara, tuna processing plant. Known as the Scopello Tonnara it was one of the most important tuna processing plants in Sicily. The Scopello Tonnara is situated in a breathtakingly beautiful rocky cove that forms a natural harbour. Surrounded by high cliffs with small defensive towers built on them, the Scopello Tonnara buildings nestles at the head of the cove protected from storms by sea stacks that run from the cliffs out to sea as can be seen in our photo gallery.
The Scopello Tonnara was founded in the 13th century but the buildings seen today were built in the 15th century by the Sanclemente family who then sold it to the Society of Jesus and then finally to the Florio family. The tradition of catching the bluefin tuna that migrate past Sicily in May and June were started in the 9th century by the Arabs who ruled Sicily but. The Tuna are caught in a procedure known as the mattanza, from the old Spanish word matar meaning to Kill. A series of huge nets encircle shoals of tuna and are slowly tightened up until the Tuna are trapped in a restricted area surrounded by fishermen in boats. The tuna are then speared and dragged onto the boats. The blue fin tuna can reach as long as 4.3 meters ( 14 feet) weighing up to 800 kilos (1800 pounds) which would have made catching them with nets from small boats impossible. Once trapped and clubbed or speared to death these giant tuna are much more manageable and can even be tied to the side of the small fishing boats and taken back to the Tonnara. Sicilian tonnara like that at Scopello can be found all around the coast of Sicily. In the Tonnara the tuna were gutted and cut into fillets. Before canning the tuna flesh would be preserved in oil, salted or smoked to preserve it. All of the tuna was processed in the Tonnara and its produce could then be shipped across Sicily and to European markets. The main processing buildings remain at the Scopello Tonnara as do some small fishing cottages. Its beauty has been recognised by writers such as Gavin Maxwell who lived at the Scopello Tonnara. The Scopello Tonnara has also been used as a location in films such as Oceans Twelve and the Sicilian detective series Montalbano.

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