Italy is well-known worldwide for the Renaissance, the arts, food, the Pope, its lifestyle and many other things. However, not many people know that diving in Italy is as beautiful as the rest of its attractions. Considered one of Europe’s most beautiful tourist destinations, Sardinia ranks as the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and has over 1,700 kilometres of gorgeous coastline to discover. TAVOLARA-PUNTA CODA CAVALLO MARINE PROTECTED AREA Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo MPA is located in the northeast, south of the world-famous Costa Smeralda. Only authorised diving operations, such as Blu Infinito Diving Center, can operate in this area.
PAPA BANKS – Papa Bank 1 and Papa Bank 2 are divided by a sand channel on the east side of the small island of Tavolara. Huge schools of Mediterranean chromis and ornate wrasse cover the huge gorgonian fans found all over both banks. Big groupers, snappers and jacks swim around them looking for food. It is also possible to see big yellowtail, mobulas and Mediterranean moray eels coming up from the Tavolara walls adorned with yellow cluster anemones. ARCHIPELAGO DI LA MADDALENA NATIONAL PARK This national park includes many little islands between Sardinia and Corsica. The marine park has over 30 diving spots accessible only by authorised diving centres such as Blue Dive Center.
LAVEZZI – For decades, Lavezzi has been known in the Mediterranean as “The Grouper City”. Huge, friendly groupers abound, demanding attention from divers.
This diving spot, 25 to 30 metres deep, is located a few miles north of the archipelago in the Bocche di Bonifacio National Park and attracts divers from all over Europe.
CAPO CACCIA-ISOLA PIANA MARINE RESERVE Within this marine reserve lies the most important underground cave system in Italy, Capo Caccia. Offering some of the biggest underwater caves in Europe, the stunning karst system goes inside the island and offers several amazing diving opportunities at different depths. One of the best options for diving here is Capo Galera Diving Center.
FALCO’S CAVE – Considered one of the most important caves in the area, Falco’s cave walls and arches are fully covered with beautiful red coral. Snappers and groupers swim by the entrance of the cave, which leads to an underground cave where divers can walk around admire the walls, arches, stalactites and stalagmites.
TOP LEFT A macro shot taken at Tavolara
Lavezzi is one of the most popular dive sites in the Mediterranean
A diver emerges from Falco’s Cave BOTTOM LEFT