With a rich history and culture, Italy is a popular tourist destination and home to the largest number of UNESO World Heritage Sites. It is ranked fifth in the world in tourism as it receives more than 46 million tourists per year. Italy is surrounded by 6 seas; Ligurian, Sardinian and Tyrrhenian to the West, Sicilian and Ionian to the South and Adriatic to the East. Therefore, it has magnificent landscapes, and beautiful beaches with warm waters that make it a thrill for divers. The diving season is between April and November, where water temperatures are said to be anywhere between 15 and 26C. The best diving spots are in the waters of Sicily and Sardinia.
Hot Dive Spots in Italy
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, and is accessible by ferry or plane. It is an exceptional diving spot for beginners, all the way through to advanced divers, as it features abundant sea life, coral and caves. Two excellent diving spots here for the advanced diver are Alghero and Grotta Niedda .Alghero is a beautiful cavern dive with depths ranging from 15 to 30 meters. Grotta Niedda is famous for its intrinsic network of dim caves laden with lobsters and octopuses. It is ideal for cave divers, as swimming through the tunnels can be a challenge.
Sicily is an island on the southern end of Italy with very hot summers. You can get here by train or bus from Rome. About 30 kilometers from Sicily, you get the chance to dive to a submerged volcanic island. Ferdinandea is an underwater volcano which is about 400 meters high with a peak just about 8 or so meters below the water surface. It is believed to have appeared in 1831, and was bombed in 1986 by American warplanes in an attack on Libya as it was mistaken for a Libyan submarine. It is home to various types of marine life.
Secca del Papa
Secca del Papa is a stunning dive site with granite walls up to a depth of 40 meters. It is perfect for advanced divers. The waters here are clear and green. The granite walls that begin at a depth of 30 meters contain cracks which harbor some of the Italian sea’s finest in terms of marine life, including barracudas, morays and almaco jacks. Secca del Papa is accessible from Tavolara island, a small island off Sardinia.
Portofino Marine Park
Portofino Marine Park is a perfect diving place for diving enthusiasts of all levels. The bio-diverse marine park is home to beautiful Mediterranean marine life, and also houses the Christ of The Abyss. This is a bronze 2.5 meter tall underwater statue of Jesus Christ. It is 17 meters deep and is located near the spot where one of Italy’s forefathers of scuba diving, Dario Gonzatti died. The marine park, popular for its use in marine research, also contains World War II ship wrecks, notably Haven, Genova, and the Mohawk Deer and Haven.
Grotta Azzura, or Blue Grotto of Taormina
When scuba diving in Italy, you should try the Grotta Azzura, also called Blue Grotto of Taormina. A few kilometers from the beach of Mazzaro, in Sicily, the Blue Grotto is the most popular diving spot in Taormina. It is accessible by boat. The Blue Grotto has many underwater caves, among them Grotto dei Gamberi or the Cave of the Shrimp, which has an abundance of shrimp. The blue caves derive their name from the magnificent blue reflection of water that lights up the cave. For the advanced cave diver scuba diving in Italy, Pozzo del Merro is a must visit. Italy’s most famous cave, the Well of Merro, is situated about 20 kilometers from Rome. This mysterious sinkhole is believed to be over 400 meters deep and flooded by underground streams. It features excellent flora and fauna, among them limestone rocks covered with rare ferns, oaks and crustaceans.
Expect to See
When scuba diving in Italy, you will notice that the waters have an abundance of marine life, especially groupers, sea turtle, barracuda and a variety of hard and soft coral. For instance, at Portofino Marine Park, there are lobsters, nudibranchs, cuttlefish, mollusks, scorpion fish, dolphins in the dolphin sanctuary, tuna, barracuda, moray eels, bass and giant moon fish. The underwater caves of Grotta Azzura have morays, sponges, coral and shrimp, and Grotta Niedda in Sardinia has big octopuses and lobsters.