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home / destination / Italy / the marine park of portofino, area marina protetta di portofino

Italy Capital : ROME
Language : Italian

Currency : Euro
Time zone UTC : +2


Dive trip The Marine Park of Portofino, Area Marina Protetta di Portofino

Swim, dive, snorkel and dive in Italy, in The Marine Park of Portofino, Area Marina Protetta di Portofino

Your best diving holidays in Italy will be spent in Portofino! Enjoy swimming, diving, snorkelling and freediving in the protected marine park of Portofino, created in 1999. Incredibly picturesque, this fishing village has long seduced the jet set with its colourful houses, its castle and its gardens hanging over the Gulf of Tigullio. Have a coffee on the Piazzetta, the Martyrs' Square of Olivetta, in the heart of this wonderful village. Go snorkelling in the translucent water at the Abbey of San Fruttuoso in Capodimonte: just opposite, underwater, at a shallow depth, stands a huge bronze statue dating from 1952, the Christ of the Abyss. Visited by beginners and experienced divers from all over the world, Area B of the Portofino Marine Park is a beautiful playground with 20 marked diving sites, with drop-offs, arches and above all magnificent wrecks, testimonies of our historical past!

Portofino's coastline has an unusual outline and is drained by nutrient-concentrating currents. Nature lovers, therefore, can expect the greatest variety of Mediterranean flora and fauna in Portofino. In the open water, barracudas, snappers, tuna, dentex and amberjacks swim around without fear. In the holes, observe morays, conger eels, scorpion fish, octopus, lobsters and groupers. Underwater photographers will find wonderful coloured nudibranchs near the sponges they love. On the rocky or limestone walls, among the red, yellow and bicoloured gorgonians, red corals and Margherita di Mare, (Parazoanthus axinellae), you will discover the eggs of the dogfish. In May and June, look out for the appearance of the deep-sea moon fish. A diving holiday in Portofino, at the Diving Group Portofino, is also ideal for wreck divers. Explore Portofino's most famous wrecks such as the Mohawk Deer, a merchant ship. Take beautiful underwater photos on the Jorn wreck, a Dutch river barge.

Swim around the wreck UJ2207, a submarine hunter also known locally as Cargo Armato, originally built for deep-sea fishing! Discover the wreck of the Colosso, an Italian steamer. Are you interested in technical diving experiences in Portofino? Then equip yourself and go deep, trimix or rebreather diving around the most technical wrecks to visit around Portofino. The Genova - also known as the Vapor di Portofino - the Uj2216 and the Uj2210, submarine hunters, will enchant you with their state of conservation. Don't miss the Marcella, which was the largest and most modern fishing vessel of its time in Italy. However, these wrecks are silted in silt and we advise extreme caution as the sediment is easily suspended. If you expect to have a visibility of 15 to 20 m in general, be aware that you may have to touch some of these wrecks to see them, depending on the weather. It is possible to dive in dry clothes in Portofino in winter as the water temperature is 13°C and in thick 5mm wetsuits in summer at 24°C.

Marine species in the area

Dive sites

Divided into three zones, A, B and C, the Portofino Marine Park has pre-installed mooring buoys that prevent boats from damaging the seabed with their anchors. Zone A is accessible to biologists and scientists from the University of Genoa and includes the Cala dell'oro inland sea. It is forbidden to sail, swim, dive and of course... fish! Zone B, located between Punta del Faro di Portofino and Punta Chiappa, allows sport fishing for residents and diving, snorkelling and swimming for all. In front of Portofino, area C, characterised by stretches of Posidonia, is suitable for water sports activities. Experience one of the most famous dives in the world, in Portofino! The legendary Italian diving figure, Duilio Marcante, has installed the Christ of the Abyss in front of the village of San Fruttuoso, at a depth of 17 metres, a large bronze statue 2.50 metres high, weighing 260 kg and resting on a large concrete base. The hands of the statue are 10 metres deep.

Also, snorkelling on the Christ of the Abyss or free diving above the statue, allows you to admire it too. And if the weather conditions do not allow you to go there by sea, discover in the chapel of the church of San Fruttuoso a copy of this Christ placed there on August 13th 1974. For the record, medals of sailors, athletes as well as metal parts of ships such as bells, and cannons, were melted in the crucible, for the conception of this work. Wonderful technical dives, on wrecks and shoals, are to be made in the Portofino Marine Reserve. All the other spots presented below are only available to very experienced divers, who have been previously trained in teak and deep diving, using technical equipment and gases such as trimix. The Portofino Lighthouse is located at the easternmost point of the promontory, drained by strong currents, with less visibility, depending on the weather.

The ridges, drop-offs and rocky terraces extend to a depth of 50m and end at 70m with large boulders. Here you can see yellow and red gorgonians, Aplysina Aerophoba sponges and, at depth, colonies of Eunicella verrucosa and Leptogorgia Sarmentosa. Conger eels, moray eels and mostella take refuge in the crevices. At a depth of 62 m, 20 colonies of false black coral (Gerardia Savaglia) are regularly studied by the University of Genoa. At a depth of around 70 m, you will notice the presence of amberjacks and especially red coral (Corallium rubrum) and black coral (Anthipates Subpinnata). This place was very well known to professional coral divers, as early as 1970. A rock resembling a column rises from 58 to 47 m, covered with Paramuricea Clavata. Branches of red coral, particularly large ones, line the holes. To the south of this rock, beautiful white gorgonians vibrate in the current. Star gorgonians (Astrospartus mediterraneus) intercept tiny planktonic organisms, carried by the current.

At around 68m, objects - perhaps the remains of wrecks - are scattered on the bottom. Explore a shoal, Secca Isuela, with a 35-minute walk between 13 and 55m. Its distance from the coast and the often strong currents here cause an explosion of life. Less well known, another small shoal, Isuelita is connected to Secca Isuela by a rocky base going west, at 40 m depth. On this beautiful dive spot in Portofino, you can see a colony of false black coral (Gerardia Savaglia), orange sponges Axinella, sea breams, snappers, amberjacks and bonito. Dogfish leave their eggs to cling to the red gorgonians Paramuricea clavata. Every crevice here is a den of crustaceans. At Punta Torretta, huge boulders spread out from west to east, between 45 and 55 m deep. Because of their proximity, they form corridors and drop-offs to be explored in a weak current. Red gorgonians (Paramuricea clavata) alternate with yellow sponges (Aplysina aerophoba) typical of deep waters.

Beware, the last boulders extending westwards are located in zone A, an integral reserve of the Portofino marine park. So follow the wall of the Torretta on your left, to go back up to make your stops at a shallower depth. Punta Chiappa is known for its shrimp cave, drop-offs and canyons. This shoal peaks at 32m and drops down to 50m. Rich in red corals, Punta Chiappa has crevices rich in crustaceans. The bottom is dotted with white gorgonians (Eunicella verrucosa) while orange sponges (Axinella cannabina) sting the rocks. Heading west on the 45 m-long bottom lines, you move from one isolated rock to another until you reach the western drop-off. On this spot, good underwater navigation skills are required!

This extensive site is particularly suitable for scuba diving (DPV). Another dive is to be made at Punta Manara, in the low tourist season, preferably on weekdays, at the beginning and end of the summer. Punta Manara is located on the route of the pleasure boats which, from the tourist ports of Chiavari, Lavagna and Sestri Levante, follow the coast of the Riviera di Liguria di Levante towards the Cinque Terre. Underwater, swim along the large parallel rocky ridges, representing canyons and drop-offs - which extend from Manara Point out to sea, from 35 to 50 metres and rise from 3 to 5 metres above the muddy bottom. Visibility is often poor here. In this very specific topography, you have plenty to do in terms of marine biology.

Others Activities

The Marine Park of Portofino, Area Marina Protetta di Portofino : Dive shops


Diving Group Portofino
Italy  - Santa Margherita Ligure

The two Diving Group Portofino dive centers, PADI 5* and SSI, are located in Santa Margherita Ligure, on the Ligurian coast, 3 km from Portofino and 30 minutes from Genoa! Situated in the historic town, close to the port where the semi-rigid and hard-hulled boats are moored and where the hotels and restaurants are located. One of the premises, dedicated to recreational diving over 200 m2, includes 6 hot showers, 2 WCs (one of which is suitable for disabled people), 2 large changing rooms with hairdryers, 80 private lockers, and net bags for storing your personal belongings, a large rinsing and storage area for your equipment, a classroom and a filling room for air, nitrox and trimix blocks. To make your stay even more enjoyable, there's a soft drinks vending machine, free drinking water, free Wi-Fi, and a comfortable seating area. This Diving Group Portofino training center, run by Luca Smecca, PADI IDC Staff Instructor, offers courses from beginner diver to instructor. Run by Stefano Lugaresi, the other local Diving Group Portofino, located in Via Antonio Maria Maragliano, 25, specializes in TDI and UTR technical diving. It organizes rebreather courses with Aldo Ferrucci. Thanks to its multilingual instructors, Diving Group Portofino caters to the needs of individual divers, couples, small groups of friends, and dive clubs looking for a professional and friendly infrastructure. Diving Group Portofino organizes accommodation for groups, passing on its discounts, and offers tailor-made diving packages, including the best sites in the Portofino Marine Park. Choose from half-day wreck dives, sunset dives washed down with Prosecco, day trips with lunch and drinks on board, or night dives followed by dinner in a local restaurant! [+]

  • Protected Marine Park
  • Near Downtown area
  • Welcome groups
From 47,00 €


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