Italy is situated right in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and is the hub of culture, art, design, romance, fashion and most importantly scuba diving. Home to approximately 450 islands, of which 350 are sea islands (which include 13 archipelagos) roughly 100 lagoons and lake islands, with Venice alone counting 32 inhabited lagoon islands, there is so much to see and explore both on land and in the water.
Italy juts in the Mediterranean, providing a vast coastline stretching over 7,600km, with stunning scenery, and warm, crystal clear waters. Every Italian island provides something different. Sicily, which is the largest Italian island, is home to exceptional dive sites and provides the warmest climate. Elba, made famous by Napoleons almost yearlong exile, is located in the Tuscany Archipelago and is an amazing place for adventure and underwater experiences. If however, you are looking for awe-inspiring drop-offs and incredible pelagic animals, then Elba is the place to go.
Top 5 Dives Sites in Italy And The Italian Islands
Punta Si Fetovaia, Elba
This incredible dive site is known for its stunning red, white and yellow gorgonians, which cover the seabed at around 20m. Once, passing this area, you cross over a Posidonia grassland at 25m that then jumps to 30m with red gorgonians up to a depth of 40m. At this point, you reach the entrance of a cave that is teaming with lobster, scorpion fish as well as some pelagic fish including barracuda, and amberjack. Also home to schools of chromis and grouper, this dive site offers both newbie and advanced divers amazing sites and memories. With good visibility, this dive site is great for all levels of diver.
St. Elmo’s Rock, Sardinia
If you are looking for an adventurous dive site, then St. Elmo’s Rock is the dive for you. This site is full of caves and caverns that criss-cross each other, which provide ample areas to discover all the marine life that the Med has to offer.
Saint Lucia, Rome
If you’re looking for a magnificent wreck dive, situated just off the coast of Rome lies a wreck that was sunk during WWII. Even though this wreck is not in one piece, the anchor, propeller and stern handrail are all intact, providing excellent photographic opportunities. This wreck is penetrable and is raved about by divers visiting this site. Another amazing thing about this wreck is seeing all the marine life that have made this sunken vessel their home.
Il Cristo di Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
With its amazing location between Milan and Venice, Lake Garda provides spectacular fresh water diving experiences, with Il Cristo di Riva del Garda being the site that attracts divers from all over the world. Located at the north end of the lake, this top dive site has a maximum depth of 35m and has visibility of around 10m. The marine life is stunning with schools of pike, burbot and trout. If you’re lucky, the lake boasts a variety of eels, so make sure you keep an eye out.
Aci Trezza, Sicily
Located just off the coast of Sicily are three column-shaped rocks, which protrude out of the water and are known as the Cyclopean Rocks, which according to mythology, Polyphemus flung at Ulysses. As well as providing a spectacular rock formation, both on top of and under the water, with volcanic rock, huge sea fans and colourful basalt, this dive site is also home to numerous wrecks which date all the way back from the Romans through to WWII. Not only does this dive site boast stunning underwater scenery, it is also home to some incredible history.
With there being approximately 450 Italian Islands, there are too many amazing dive sites to list all in one go, so if you know of a top dive site that has not made it to our top 5 list, then please let us know in the comments below.