Although Italy is an incredibly popular tourist destination for its above land activities it is not so well known for its underwater world. However this doesn’t stop thousands of tourists flocking to the country during the summer months for the warm waters and the relaxed style of diving. Whilst most of the best dives are thought to be in the waters surrounding Sicily and Sardinia, those with a love of history will find themselves excited by a variety of WWII wreck dives located just off the south-east coast of the mainland. Let’s take a look at some of the best sites for those of you planning a dive vacation.
The ruins of the G45 Destroyer, the HMS Quail is said to be one of the best wreck diving sites in the whole of Italy. Located just off the coast of Puglia this site requires a boat to reach and it is only a recommended dive for those with an Advanced Open Water qualification (or similar) or higher due to its depth of 90 metres. The wreck was surprisingly only discovered in 2002 by an Italian dive team lead by Claudia Serpieri but it has gone on to be explored by thousands of divers. With 5-25 metre visibility, divers are advised to wait until the summer months of the year for the best conditions.
The HMS Regent is the wreck of a British submarine that was sunk in 1943 during the Second World War. It lies at a depth of 30-35 metres making it accessible to any diver that has completed a deep diving course. Many who have dived this wreck have been amazed by the dive and alongside the HMS Quail it is thought to be one of the best wreck dives in the country. Due to the submarine being in active service when it was sunk, divers are asked to leave everything “as it is” as the wreck was and still is a war grave.
Pozzo del Merro
Located just outside of Rome, Pozzo del Merro is an interesting dive and likely one that you will never have experienced before. Known quite literally as a “sink hole”, Pozzo del Merro is the deepest flooded cavity in the world. Thought to be at least 400 metres deep and with no visibility this is definitely a dive for experienced divers only. However if you like underwater photography and want to capture some truly unique pictures, this is definitely worth a try.
Alghero is a cavern dive that ranges in depth between 15 and 30 metres. The diving here is said to be way above average and divers will enjoy exploring the caverns and the abundance of marine life to be found here. This is an incredibly beautiful dive and is something that is completely new to most who dive here. With 20 metre visibility almost all year round and awe-inspiring scenery both above and below water, this is one dive that will never be forgotten. It is advised to dive with an instructor in Alghero and take scuba lessons in cave diving unless you are an experienced and qualified cave diver.
Ferdinandea Volcano, Sicily
Have you ever dived a submerged volcano? Well now is your chance! Ferdinandea Volcano is over 400 metres high but you can find its summit just eight metres below the surface. As with all underwater volcanoes there is an abundance of marine life so make sure you remember your dive camera if you have one. Believed to have been caused by the movement of tectonic plates in the 19th century many dive instructors will tell you all about the legend behind the volcano and how it was mistakenly bombed as a submarine.
All of the dive sites above are guaranteed to make your scuba trip better than you had ever dreamed possible. Enjoy!
Rutger writes for Book Your Dive, a review based website that helps divers from all over the world find the perfect company to scuba dive with.