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#1247359 - 07.11.16 18:33 Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries
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One of the many elements that link Sicily to the sea and to the ancient traditions of the fishermen, are “tuna fisheries”.
The origins of tuna fisheries in Sicily are indeed very ancient. Truly a tradition dating back from the Quaternary (about two million years ago) when fishing was practiced in a crude and essential way. The various populations that have lived on the island have, from time to time, improved and refined their techniques of fishing to the point it became a primary maritime economy. The Phoenicians, in Cadiz, had organized a maritime tuna working center, then the tradition continued with the Greeks and the Byzantines and the Arabs gave, to fishing, that touch of refinement with the installation of fixed networks at sea by placing them so that the tuna was led through several rooms until the final stage. This system is currently being used in order to "imprison" tuna and prevent them to exit. After a few days the nets are raised to the surface and tuna killed. Afterwards the work continues on the mainland where there are large sheds that serve as storage and space for processing (gutting, cutting, etc.). Over the time, in Sicily, tuna fisheries multiplied and expanded. Le Tonnare represent a piece of history and Sicilian tradition, they tell of fishermen's labors, that life is divided between land and sea.


- 20 October 2016, 82km, Siracusa - Porto Palo (SR)
- 21 October 2016, 105km, Porto Palo - Scoglitti (RG)
- 22 October 2016, 115km/H778m, Scoglitti - San Leone (AG)
- 23 October 2016, 71km/H678m, San Leone - Sciacca (AG)
- 24 October 2016, 116km/H626m, Sciacca - Marsala (TP)
- 25 October 2016, 70km, Marsala - Trapani (via Tonnara Bonagia)
- 26 October 2016, 41km, Trapani - Favignana (Egadi)
- 27 October 2016, 70km/H1090m, Trapani - Scopello (via R.N.O. Zingaro)
- 28 October 2016, 80km/H650m, Scopello - Palermo


… the trip starts HERE

20 October 2016:
Here below the departure from Syracuse with the "blessing" of Gianni and Francesco, two authentic “Syracusan” bikers !!

20.10.2016: Tonnara di Santa Panagia (Siracusa)
GPS 37.107180, 15.277141

The tuna fishery of Santa Panagia is located north of Syracuse over the homonymous promontory. The history of the trap dates back to the 10th century; then after a long period of silence it passes under the legal authority of the Syracuse Regional Chamber during the Spanish period. Then it’s sold to various private owners for the first time in 1655.
Existing plants can be traced back to the eighteenth century, probably reconstructed on a previous system following the 1693 earthquake. It was used until the fifties when he became inactive due to the introduction of catching tuna by "flying networks."
Currently the trap is in serious degradation conditions, nonetheless there’s a plan of Sicily Region for restructuring and the transformation of the site into a museum dedicated to the relationship between man and sea.

20.10.2016: Tonnara di Vendicari (Siracusa)
GPS 36.803177, 15.099233

The tuna fishery of Vendicari was very important for the economy of Sicily. Also called Bafutu it was built in '700. His life was influenced by the proximity of two other traps because of which Bafutu underwent periods of closure and crisis. The heyday has lived at the beginning of last century and was renovated in 1914 by the will of Antonin Modica Munafò. Its activities ceased in 1943 following the landing of Anglo-American troops. Today all the rooms adjacent to the trap, and the trap itself, have been restored thanks to the intervention of the Superintendence of Syracuse.

20.10.2016: Tonnara di Marzamemi (Siracusa)
GPS 36.742461, 15.118787

The Tonnara of Marzamemi, built in the sixteenth century, is one of the oldest and most important tuna fisheries in eastern Sicily, taking advantage of the orographic position of the coast, intercepted, from May to July, by important migration of tuna. The environment that originally served as a shelter for the big boats of the trap, so-called “scieri”, today is a “Loggia”, one large room of about 750 sqm., Traversed by ancient tuff arches and overlooking the sea and the old fishing port. The Loggia communicates directly with the private courtyard of the Palazzo dei Bonaccorsi Reburdone of Principles through the ancient door, it opens on the magnificent Piazza Regina Margherita, the center of the small village of Marzamemi. The trap of Marzamemi, which in prosperous times recruited up to 1,500 workers, closed around in the 1960 with the crisis of the traps.

20.10.2016: Tonnara di Porto Palo di Capo Passero (Siracusa)
36.685477, 15.135323

The Tonnara of Capo Passero at the extreme southeastern tip of Sicily was a thriving manufacturing plant in the twentieth century and today is a splendid monument of industrial archeology. Here are visible the balata, the loggia and the plant for the processing of tuna, the big furnace, the warehouses, the XVII century church.

21.10.2016: Porto Palo - Scoglitti
... feeling HAPPY: Porto Palo, Isola delle Correnti, Sampieri, Donnalucata, Marina di Ragusa ... Scoglitti

22.10.2016: Scoglitti - San Leone (Agrigento)

Here below a beautiful sunset: it’s 18:11 hrs of today 22 October 2016

23.10.2016: San Leone - Sciacca (Agrigento)

24.10.2016: Sciacca - Marsala (TP)

25.10.2016: 70km, Marsala - Trapani (via Tonnara Bonagia)
GPS 38.067291, 12.594370

The fishery trap of Bonagia is among the oldest and most valuable of the whole Sicily. Already in operation by mid-1200 under the rule of the Angevin, the current building does not reflect the original one which in 1624 was destroyed by a pirate attack. Initially the trap was owned by the Royal Court of Naples and only in 1638 it passed to Baron Antonino Stella. At the end of 1800, after a period of neglect, its administration was taken from the Fatebenefratelli hospital in Palermo who sold it, in 1923, to the Phoenicia S.p.A. Trapani. It worked until recently and has given its owners a lot of satisfaction with pretty rich and good fishing.
In 1996 the complex was completely renovated and has been transformed into a hotel facility.
In the ancient tower there’s the Tonnara Museum, where you can admire the remains and relics of the illustrious past of the trap.

26.10.2016: 40km, Trapani - Favignana (Egadi), La Tonnara di Favignana (Trapani)
GPS 37.930181, 12.328761

In the Egadi islands, and more precisely in the island of Favignana, historical sources refer to the presence of a trap since the twelfth century, where they used to process tuna in salt. In 1841 Vincenzo Florio introduced a new level of workmanship that made the fishery more profitable. Since then tuna is not only processed and conserved in salt but also tinned and conserved in oil. The trap of Favignana has suffered years of decay and neglect, and only a few years ago started a process of restoration and recovery in order to adapt it to cultural, tourist, sporting and craft activities.

According to your forum rules, no maps must be displayed. I have converted the map into a link.


27.10.2016: 70km/H1090m, Trapani - Scopello (via San Vito lo Capo e Riserva Naturale "Zingaro")
GPS 38.165342, 12.773070

It's hard to go back to the year of its construction though, some first citations date it back to 1600.
Initially owned by the Monastery of Santa Rosalia, in 1872 it was purchased by Vito Foderà of Castellammare del Golfo. With this new ownership the trap changed and expanded rapidly in the following years.
Unfortunately the fishery is currently abandoned.

NOTE: crossing of the Zingaro Nature Reserve
The Zingaro Nature Reserve is a vast forest area in the province of Trapani located along the coast between San Vito lo Capo and Scopello. The reserve can not be crossed with a bike even if conducted by hand.

28 October 2016, 80km/H650m, Scopello – Palermo, La Tonnara di Scopello (Trapani)
GPS 38.071636, 12.821908

Scopello is a strip of land up and jagged overlooking the deep blue water located about an hour's drive from Palermo. Here in the bays there are hidden lonely strips of sand and pebbles often accessible only by sea. This natural paradise is precisely the village of Scopello, small but rich in tradition. A place that has managed to preserve over time a few houses, the beam, a church, the stacks and the small fishery. This latter is one of the oldest of the entire island and is the testimony of an activity once flourishing. The silence that surrounds it is broken only by the sound of the waves. You can visit the "death chamber" where it was practiced the cruel slaughter, the warehouse where it was stowed tuna and the anchors used for networks. The trap of Scopello is one of the most important and ancient of whole Sicily and today a few rooms are reserved for accommodation.

Geändert von Keine Ahnung (11.11.16 13:15)
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#1247516 - 08.11.16 13:03 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: ConRAD]
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Great trip and great pictures.
Cycling is an addiction, it can drive you quite insane. It can rule your life as truly as strong whiskey and cocaine.Forumstreffen Edersee 2014
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#1247719 - 09.11.16 06:21 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: ConRAD]
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Looks like Sicily is really worth a visit. This kind of "themed-touring" makes the report very interesting to read - Thank you!
I also like the photos you made. What camera do you use?
Do you know how many meter in altitude you made throughout the 750km?

Is Sicily really that expensive? What is the price range for hotels/guesthouses in oct-nov?

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#1247861 - 09.11.16 14:36 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: memy]
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Originally Posted By: memy
... do you know how many meter in altitude you made throughout the 750km? ...

Not too many indeed, something like 4000 m I'd say.
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#1247862 - 09.11.16 14:38 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: ConRAD]
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Actually October seems to be the perfect period of the year to go across and around Sicily.
It’s indeed very low season and accommodation pretty easy to find and relatively cheap so far.
I booked all the times through “booking” with overnight prices ranging between 25 and 45 Euros, all accommodations within the urban area, generally of good quality.
As usual one meal per day (dinner only), always of good quality, about 25-30 euros, just a couple of times 35 Euros.
Sicily is indeed, or might be if you rather prefer, a truly wonderful place from all points of view.
… but, very unfortunately and sadly I’d say, to this specific respect I must be very honest and show what looks like a sort of an expanding plague that tourist brochures and different advertisements will never show to you.
It’s something that, should you plan a trip over there, you’ll have to face and cope with !!

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#1248094 - 10.11.16 14:42 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: ConRAD]
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Thanks a lot for presenting some regions of Sicily, still not often in the focus of travelling. I'm looking for another trip in Sicily, until yet I just conquered a small part of the island with Messina/Catania and Etna region. I always like this remote charming places like Trapani - it looks to me like remote places in Galicia or at the East coast of Catania. Thanks for explaining a special topic like the tradition of fishery.

@ memy: If going inside the country, there are lot of passes and you will take some meters in altitude more. Most serious climbs you'll find up to the Etna with alpine dimensions, nearly 2000 m above sea level (Rifugio Sapienza), but a very specific and fascinating volcano scenery. It's worth to make a roundtrip of the Etna below, too. If crossing all parts of Sicily, you should take time for 10 to 14 days. Quite sure, parts of the coastline East and North are more touristic than ConRAD's trip - of course not less inspiring places like Taormina. In low season best to visit.

Accomodations: In Sicily like in many other parts of Italy you'll find bed & breakfast facilities. In most cases they are not cheaper than small hotels, but service and breakfast is better, even you can talk better to local people, sometimes you'll get products of their own like marmelade etc. So I can assure ConRAD's range of prices in the lower category. You should mention that accomodations in the South of Italy are not really cheaper than in the North. There is no correlation to the lower economic level of the South (mezzogiorno), tourism prices working different. Even in the North (Italian Alps) there is more competition of accommodations, so sometimes cheaper. The same way is reasoned by tourists with lower budget in the Alps (hikers, cyclist), to find less in the South.
Liebe Grüße! Ciao! Salut! Saludos! Greetings!

Geändert von veloträumer (10.11.16 14:44)
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#1248169 - 10.11.16 20:40 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: veloträumer]
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Just to clarify that publishing some of above photos I didn’t intend at all to offend anybody nor offer to the reader a negative picture of that region.
It’s exactly the opposite, I SIMPLY DO LOVE that place … to the point that I’m planning new trips over there. Unfortunately, and that must be said for sake of honesty, there are a few things very difficult to accept. That’s it, thank you.

HERE some other trips around Sicily.
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#1248293 - 11.11.16 13:24 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: ConRAD]
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Thank you for sharing your tour with us! This part of Italy I have not visited yet. Now, I have placed Sicily also on the (unfortunately not really short) my list headed "Collection of Ideas for Future Bicycle Tours."

An Egyptian postdoc of mine had visited Sicily two years ago together with her family. Afterwards, she told me that she was astonished to find that also places in Europe were not clean and tidy ...
Gruß, Arnulf

"Ein Leben ohne Radfahren ist möglich, aber sinnlos" (frei nach Loriot)
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#1249386 - 17.11.16 22:31 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: Keine Ahnung]
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.... coming next: "THE ISLANDS AROUND SICILY"

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#1249591 - 18.11.16 20:26 Re: Tonnare di Sicilia - Sicilian Tuna Fisheries [Re: ConRAD]
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Malta is also on my list of countries, in which I have been cycling. The other islands (but also Sicily) I do not know. I am looking forward to your report.
Gruß, Arnulf

"Ein Leben ohne Radfahren ist möglich, aber sinnlos" (frei nach Loriot)
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