Fishing for swordfish has ancient origins that date back to the second century BC: we learn about it from some Greek historians, such as Polibio, who, fascinated by this type of fishing, accurately describe the technique.
There is also a legend that describes that when Achilles died, his warriors, highly skilled spearmen, threw themselves into the sea in despair and the Goddess Thetis turned them into swordfish.
The fishing trips, or so-called spatare, made with characteristic and rapid boats, have maintained their similarity with the old ones, remaining an interesting and bloody spectacle. At one time the boats used were of two types: the first, called the luntru, was fast and easy to handle and was used for day fishing. The second, the palamitara, used large nets as large as 1000m, and was used for night fishing.
Despite the new technological devices, swordfish fishing is still full of ancient rituals such as placing a rod on the bow with a blue or red wooden ball at the top, on which the stars of the Great Bear are painted, separated by a white band, most likely making reference to the Phoenician culture. The most mysterious of the rituals still used today is that of the “cardata da cruci” which consists of engraving the right cheek of the swordfish with nails so as to leave a mark (probably as a sign of prosperity or to recognize the fish for its noble combatant value). A ritual that has by now vanished is to sing songs in Greek while fishing, because according to superstition the fish would be lost if one sang in another language.