The town of Favignana

Tourism in Favignana

The Mattanza (the tunny-fishing)

The island of Favignana, during the last days of May, is animated by the shouting and the noise of sea beaten by oars: they are the tonnaroti (fishermen of tunas) who go to sea for the Mattanza, the tunny-fishing.

The complex and ritual way of fishing follows rhytms and formalities fixed by the Rais, chief of the tuna station, once the only head of the village too.

The tunny-fishing has ancient origins. It thinks that the Phoenicians already practised it even if the ritual which the fishing still now is based on has Arabic origins.

The fishermen of tuna make the same gestures, pray the same prayers, sing the same Cialone (a ritual song) from centuries. it is a bloody hand-to-hand struggle with these enormous animals.

The Mattanza (the tunny-fishing) Photo © Turi Calvino The Mattanza (the tunny-fishing) Photo © Affinità Elettive

The boats go to sea to cast the nets so to create a corridor and tunas go through it following a fixed way. Besides the so-called chamber of the death, it is also placed a thick and dense net, closed at the bottom, where the tunas are closed and then under the direction of the Rais, they start to kill the animals.

The ritual contains something sacred and it marks the existence on the island since this, in the past, due to the Mattanza its wealth.

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