Prince Torco And The Strait Of Bonifacio 0 Comments

Prince Torco And The Strait Of Bonifacio

The Strait of Bonifacio separates Corsica from Sardinia, taking its name after the Corsican town of Bonifacio. where also the Maddalena Archipelago National Park is located right between the two islands.

Being also called the "Kingdom of the Wind", its strong currents, driven by the prevailing wind, make navigation difficult especially with the Mistral, the north-western wind. The passage on the strait is forbidden to ships carrying contaminating substances which, in the event of an accident, would pollute this stretch of sea where, among other things, the Cetacean Sanctuary is located, of which the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites will soon tell you about.

Today, lines of passenger ships come and go from the Strait of Bonifacio, connecting Sardinia with Corsica, the rest of Italy and Spain. But frequently during summer you may also see competing boats sailing in the regattas of the northern Sardinia or Corsica Yacht Clubs.

A beautiful legend tells that, when Sardinia was really wild, and its inhabitants dressed in skins, the Sardinian Pellites who fought with Ampsicora: The Sardinian Hero, Prince Torco lived among these people. Son of the god of the abysses and skilled helmsman, with his light and fast ship built with reeds and rushes tied in bundles, he prevented the bandits of the sea from approaching the Sardinian coasts.

As long as Torco remained young and strong, no raiders managed to land in Sardinia. But for Torco also the descent of the vault of life began. And so, as he aged, the attackers grew more menacing along the island coast. However, Torco managed to protect the independence of his land by rushing from time to time to every alarm, forcing the invaders back to the sea with violent battles, including the ones of Cala Moresca, Baia dei Saraceni, Punta Falcone.

One day he saw on the horizon an immense fleet of enemy ships occupying the whole sea, arriving directly from Africa under the command of Atlas, the strongest and cruelest king of all the Mediterranean brigandage. Torco understood that this time it would be the final fight of his life.

The battle raged in the stretch of sea that separates Sardinia from Corsica, today's Strait of Bonifacio. Atlas started the attack and the small rush boats led by Torco and his men held off the pirates until a strong enemy ship rammed his boat which sank with him and all his sailors. The other Sardinian sailors, seeing their captain disappearing among the streams, became discouraged and Atlas took the opportunity to reinforce the battle, while Torco's body sank deep into the sea.

But at the bottom of the sea his father, the god of the abysses, received that body and gently placing him on a bed of seaweed, breathed the spirit of the sea into his mouth. And then the prodigy happened: gills materialized on the old warrior while his legs turned into a long tail. So Torco was alive again as a triton prince, and rose to the surface leading the other sea tritons.

While the battle between Atlas and the Sardinian sailors had now come to an end and the victory of the African pirates was near, a herd of tritons emerged from the sea surrounding the pirate’s ships and, starting to agitate the sea with powerful blows of their tails and unleashing a terrible storm, they overwhelmed and destroyed the enemy fleet with powerful waves.

The old prince Torco won also the last battle against the evil Atlas, but he could never go back to being a man, remaining a triton for the rest of his days.

Even today it is said that, whenever the waters of the Strait of Bonifacio swell and rage with the sound of thunder, it is Torco who, rising from the depths, warns the Sardinians on the old and new enemies’ arrival.


“The winds force the sailor who crosses them to shield the coasts of Sardinia: The Straits of Bonifacio are a flooded torrent that flows unstoppable from West to East.” (Daniela Dawan)


Written by Daniela Toti

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