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Strait of Messina between Sicily and mainland Italy
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Italy might build a bridge to Sicily

A bridge between Sicily and the Italian mainland has been on the cards for thousands of years – and now it could actually happen

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

The idea of having a bridge connecting Sicily to mainland Italy has been around for a while. And we really do mean a while. Apparently the Romans were the first to pitch the idea thousands of years ago, suggesting that a bridge of boats and barrels could be a way of linking Italy’s ‘foot’ to its ‘ball’.  

Over the next several thousand years, a bridge between Italy and Sicily has been suggested many more times. It nearly came to fruition as recently as 2009 and while that attempt was called off in 2013, now, excitingly, it looks like a bridge might actually be built.

Mainland Italy and Sicily are separated by the Strait of Messina, which is a body of water that links the Ionian sea in the south with the Tyrrhenian Sea in the north. At its narrowest point the strait is 3.1 kilometres (1.9 miles) wide, with the port city of Messina on the Sicilian side and the Calabrian city of Villa San Giovanni on the mainland.

The new bridge has been proposed by Italian PM Giorgia Meloni, who has announced that she’ll ask the EU for help funding the project. If it goes ahead, the bridge is expected to cost several billion euros and, when complete, would measure over 3,600 metres – making it the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Which all sounds pretty exciting, right? As yet, the plans haven’t been confirmed but, if the bridge goes ahead, it could see Sicily become much more accessible from mainland Italy, especially by train.

Until then, you’ll have to get between the two sides via the old-fashioned ways. Plane and ferry are the most common ways to traverse the Strait of Messina, though you can also get a train from Sicily direct to Rome and Naples that boards its own ferry.

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