Crossing the Strait of Messina has been an absolute need from the beginning of times. This is a challenge that the Caronte&Tourist group wins every day guaranteeing with its fleet, seven days a week, day and night, a territorial continuity between Sicily, its minor islands and the rest of Italy.
The adventure starts on the 10th of June 1965, when the “Marina di Scilla”, a ship of the Caronte spa fleet, founded by the brothers Elio and Amadeo Matacena, carried out her maiden voyage on the Strait of Messina connecting, as an alternative to the State Railway fleet (owners of a concession that dates back to November 1893), the ports of Messina and Reggio Calabria. Three years later the Tourist Ferry Boat, creation of the Franza-Mondello family, launched the Messina-Villa San Giovanni route, junction of fundamental importance.
The new route was custom made for the user; there were fewer miles to cover and hence a decrease in the crossing time. In a few years, with the development of road transport and thanks to the progressive efficiency of the service offered by the private ship owners, the commercial traffic to and from Sicily on the Messina-Villa route increased exponentially. As a result of the success of the initiative and investing in innovation, the company launched the RO-RO ships (Roll on-Roll off) equipped with a double ramp, and then commissioned new units with the Voith-Schneider propulsion, adopted after a careful study that took into account the strong marine currents of the Strait. The new ships are fast; they have a high maneuvering range and guarantee excellent safety standards.
However the perspective view of safer, faster and with a reduced environmental impact transports, stimulate, once again, the company’s management towards a courageous choice. In October 2001, in order to satisfy the growing request of the users and in accordance with the new legislations that limit the driving hours of lorries, following the results of a study of the increased traffic on the North/South road, by now exceeding its capacity, and in order to bypass the ancient Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway, the Caronte and Tourist Ferry Boat commit to the pioneering project of a marine motorway : a stable route that will connect the port of Messina to the Salerno one.