The post A place of the heart of the Cinque Terre: the 400-year history of the Capuchin convent of Monterosso appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> Magical place full of spirituality, the Capuchin convent of Monterosso in the Cinque Terre celebrates its fourth centenary.
The convent of the Capuchins in Monterosso looks to the open sea from the hill of San Cristoforo, between the beach of Fegina and the village that right here finds the origins of its historic core. For the spectacular view and the charm of the structure was ranked first in the seventh national census of “Places of the heart 2014” of the FAI with 110.341 reports, number never equaled by any other place or Italian monument.
These days, this extraordinary place celebrates 400 years of life (1628 – 2018), with a series of initiatives designed to make known the history of the convent and also to finance conservation and restoration projects necessary to maintain it.
On February 20, 1618, the Capuchin Friars symbolically settled by planting a cross on the lands of Castello and Buranco, donated to the order by the Municipality of Monterosso, about 4 years later the convent building with its twelve cells was completed, with the adjacent church of the Immaculate Virgin and St. Francis of Assisi and its churchyard, and surrounded by gardens on different levels where lemons and vineyards were cultivated. From that moment on, the friars became a fundamental part of the community life of the seaside village, in which they participated spiritually and materially.
With alternate fortune, which saw it closed both for the Napoleonic laws of 1816 and for the Savoy laws of 1867, acquired by Pietro Benvenuto di Monterosso who returned it to the friars, and then again lost due to lack of religious in the last decade of the XX century, since 2006 the Convent has returned to its ancient function, so desired by the entire population in Monterosso.
Today the structure promotes numerous activities to enhance the local history and the hosted artistic heritage: among all the “Crucifixion” attributed to Antoon Van Dyck, San Girolamo penitent by Luca Cambiaso, the refectory with La Veronica by Strozzi, and the convent itself, which has maintained over time all the architectural features of the 17th century.
From the churchyard one can admire maybe the most evocative and spectacular views of the Cinque Terre, especially at sunset, perhaps the most beautiful time to visit this place.
A plaque on the staircase leading to the convent recalls the frequent passage of the poet Eugenio Montale, who here loved to spend moments of peace and memory
Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale
e ora che non ci sei è il vuoto ad ogni gradino
I went down, giving you the arm, at least a million stairs
and now that you are not here it is a void at every step
10:00 am – Piazzale del Convento dei Cappuccini
Inauguration of the commemorative plaque for the 400th anniversary of the foundation.
Descent in procession to the village with a stop at the statue of San Francesco accompanied by the Corpo Bandistico Musicale La Monterossina and the Confraternities.
11:00 am – Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista
Solemn Mass presided over by Fr. Mauro Jöhri – Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. P. Francesco Rossi – Provincial Father of Genoa, p. Renato Brenz Verca – rector of the Convent, the parish priest Don Antonio Carozza and other Capuchin friars. Accompany the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista. Civil Authorities are present.
From 12.15 am – Main Square
Free community lunch offered by the Convent for the population of Monterosso. With the “Confraternita della potola” of Senago to share a meal with simple foods of the Franciscan tradition.
In the afternoon, animation and music with Friar Alberto and “Quelli di SanBa”.
For lunch it is necessary to register at Enoteca Internazionale, Bar Centrale, Hardware Enzo Vai “Lillo”, Bar Giò Fegina, Herbalisteria Milly.
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The post Dante and the Lunigiana Castles in a photo exhibit appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> On 6 October 1306 Dante Alighieri was the exceptional witness of the Peace of Castelnuovo, the event that put an end to the long war between the Bishops of Luni and the Malaspina family for the ever-uncertain borders between the castles of Lunigiana and spiritual power in the territory.
It is the historical episode documented at the base of a long relationship between the Poet and the region, less historically attested, but it seems important both in the biography and work of Dante that in the history of Lunigiana.
A journey through historical places often abandoned, for the well-known landscape and ruins in abandonment photographer, among the castles of Lunigiana that certainly or probably saw the presence of the Florentine poet. Inaugurated Tuesday, February 6th, the exhibition will be visible in the Sbarbaro pastry shop until February 15th.
The flowered branch was then divided into four branches: Mulazzo, Villafranca, Val di Trebbia and Giovagallo, to which Moroello di Manfredi belonged.
In these places and many others, the Castles of Lunigiana testify to the presence of an important feudal organization of the Malaspina family, known in the depths by Dante during his exile in the Apennine territory. A strategic organization for the control of one of the most important road sections of Italy in the Middle Ages through a dense network of fortifications in visual contact with each other and of the villages built within their walls.
Visiting the Castles of Lunigiana today is one of the most inspiring experiences of the territory, an excellent diversion to explore the historical hinterland of the coast between Liguria and Tuscany, in the midst of the nature of the valleys of Magra and Vara.
We speak of three castles of Lunigiana which are important and fascinating examples of the territory, which allow an extraordinary view from the mountains to the sea.
The Castle of Castelnuovo belonged to the bishops of Luni, and is one of the best preserved examples of all the Castles of Lunigiana. Its crenellated tower with a square plan emerges majestic and is visible from Luni and the sea, while from its windows one can admire one of the most evocative views of the entire Val di Magra
Every fourth Sunday of August the village celebrates the anniversary of the famous Peace of Dante, signed on 6 October 1306 to seal the peace between the Bishops of Luni and the Marquises Malaspina who changed the historical course for the entire valley.
Mulazzo is a scattered municipality composed of sixteen small villages with remarkable examples of medieval fortifications: Lusuolo, Gavedo and Castevoli and the same “Casa di Dante” a tower house of the walls of the medieval historical village, the building that hosted the poet in his trips to Lunigiana.
An initial documentation of the castle appears in an imperial diploma of 1164 with which Federico Barbarossa grants the castrum Madrognani to Obizzo Malaspina. Previously, the fortress in Madrignano near Calice at Cornovoglio in Val di Vara must have belonged to the Este family, or to the Bishops of Luni. The Malaspina retained power until the advent of the Republic of Genoa in 1416 with the Fieschi family.
The view from the Castle of Madrignano ranges over Val di Magra and Val di Vara, in a unique perspective
Check out our Lungiana Tours with local guides.
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The post Batiston, the roots of La Spezia carnival appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> Batiston, a true La Spezia local aiming at being the king of Carnival. A short story of the traditional mask from La Spezia.
In Neaple Pulcinella, Venezia has its Pantalone and Colombina, Viareggio has Burlamacco, Bologna its Balanzone, Arlecchino is from Bergano and Gianduia from Turin, Baciccia goes around Genova. It’s very clear that Carnival is spread in Italy throughout Italy, but what is the traditional mask of La Spezia? Starting from the fact that in the eastern Liguria the carnival doesn’t seem to be essential as it is in other regions, the figure that most resembles the other masks is the one of the Batiston.
Who is Batiston?
The character of Batiston appears for the first time in 1869 in a popular song and in some posters of the time.
The character’s features are similar to those of the inhabitants of the eastern Liguria. Batiston is a typical countryside person, lively, full of strenght, witty and mean, always talking straight forward and lazy.
Where does it come from?
Investigatin on its origins, traces seem to lead to an actually exited man, a very popular one, basically one of the so-told sogeti (characters) who have always lived La Spezia and elevated to a real myth. A very popular practice in small villages and cities, where often popular and extroverted characters are known by everyone and their names become part of the local or familiar language usually asa negative example, not to be imitated.
Maia, Batison’s wife.
Ver soon, Batiston is coupled with anothe character, Maià (Maria in local language), also a straight forward and friendly woman, considered to be the Carnival King’s daughter, an important stage to elevate Batisotn to an actual protagonist of the carnival, tightly connected to the feast’s spirit.
La Spezia Carnival before Batiston and hos wife.
Before this wedding, in hte 50ies of the 19th century, La Spezia carnival was a enthralling village feast (note that at the time La Spezia was a tiny village, even in the years immediately before the building of the local national naval arsenal) to which everybody would take part.
The most important charcater was the Carnival King on shrove tuesday. In a bouroughs parade, made of a caravan of chariots, the Carnival King mask was accompanied by the sound of satirical songs in local language and burnt on the marina.
Traditionally, the dying Carnival king would leave a legacy to the people: initially just a list of objects, that then became in a “graces list”, advice that gradually became a satyrical song.
When on the stage appears Batiston – stepson of the Carnival King – he would read the king’s testament to his people.
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The post Visit of the Technical Naval Museum in La Spezia appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> Many visitors in wish to see the Naval Base and arsenal of the city, but the Technical and Naval Museum of La Spezia next to it is is definitely worth a visit.
La Spezia naval base is since 1870 one of the main Navy ports in Italy, but visiting it is not possible for security reasons. Yet, those who are interested in the navy and telecommunication history can definitely enjoy a visit to the Technical Naval Museum in La Spezia, right next to the base. Specially kids will love the battleships models, like the one of the Amerigo Vespucci, the “most beautiful ship in the world“.
The museum mainly displays weapons and battleships models, together with naval equipments prototypes. It is therefore very different from the Venice Naval Museum, more focused on the seamanship history as a whole.
It is indeed the most romantic area of the museum, where one dream about the ancient ships telling their stories with these often beautifully crafted figures. In some cases, the figureheads have their stories and legends also once they were detached from the ship. Is is the case of the beautiful Atalanta figurehead, whose beauty enachanted a sailor to death.
La Spezianaval base is one of the places where Guglielmo Marconi repeatedly performed important experiments on behalf and with the decisive contribution of the Royal Navy. Since 1897, when the first tests took place, the collaboration between Marina Militare and Marconi was intense and continuous.
They made the history of navy operational raids specially in WWI, and today also on the mountains of Afghanistan, equipped with special over- and under water vehicles for silent insertions. In the Museum, it is possible to see Raffaele Paolucci and Raffaele Rossetti’s manned torpedo (usually referred to as “Mignatta” or “leech”), with which they sank the Slovene battleship Jugoslavija in Pula’s port, with no underwater breathing gears, with their heads above water.
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The post New Year’s time for Cimento appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> A propitiatory rite to close the old year and prepare “purified” for the new year, but also a cure for physical wellbeing, the Winter Cimento is a tradition that is increasingly widespread throughout the Ligurian Riviera, and not less in the Cinque Terre area.
Since always, but more and more frequently in the last few years, many localities of all Liguria celebrate Christmas with the Cimento d’Inverno, the traditional act of courage that sees dozens of daring diving and swimming as far as possible in the icy sea waters winter. Even the seaside resorts around La Spezia come alive with the initiatives of the ordeal.
A tradition that seems to be auspicious, a sort of “washing” of the bad things of the year that ends and a courageous propitiatory act for the year that is about to begin, the Cimento is increasingly loved by locals, who participate in numerous initiatives organized in the area.
For the Association of “Adversary Time Swimmers” it is a matter of a healthy body practice, to be carried out as much as possible during the winter, following the example of the educators of the Nordic countries, who take the children to play in cold snow for a few minutes, to reinforce them against bacteria that carry all diseases.
The initiatives organized between Christmas and New Year are getting more and more successful even for parties that organize events and attract not only courageous swimmers but also the curious and enthusiastic of mulled wine: there is also a beautiful regenerating banquet and bonfires, refreshments necessary and occasions to celebrate the new year.
The presence of Public Assistance, together with the Labrador dogs for the rescue at sea, ensure health care for any eventuality.
In Palmaria and Lerici the Cimento has already been accomplished on Christmas days, while on New Year’s Eve, Portovenere and Levanto will be the two protagonists of the Cimento.
Organized by the Force and Courage of Le Grazie, by the Pro Loco, the Associazione Borgata Marinara 2 and the Public Assistance this year the Cimento di Ria celebrates its ninth year. The appointment for those who want to warm up with some preparatory activities is at the small harbor of Le Grazie at 10.00 for the Race of Santa Claus to the Church of San Pietro in Portovenere and back to tourist gait.
At 12 the counting of the bold swimmers begins with a ritual picture from the pier and the start of the race with the “spanciata” of Santa Claus.
On January 1, we also dive in Levanto, in Piazza Agnelli from 11 and dive into the sea at 12.30. The musical entertainment will be organized by Radio Levanto and the polenta will be served with meat sauce, sweet pancakes, hot chocolate and mulled wine. For in swimmers, the toast is in the water, but at the beach party are invited even the most chilly, an offer is required that will be donated to the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa.
The dates of the 2018 Cimento are on our calendar, do not miss them!
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The post Christmas in Cinque Terre: the underwater nativity scene appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> The one in Portovenere was perhaps the first in all of Italy, and this year celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, but the tradition of the Underwater Nativity is very much felt in the whole area.
In December 1968 the Spezia Sub club conceived the Christmas Eve immersion in the suggestive setting of the Byron cave in Portovenere, with some torches to illuminate the event of the child that rises from the waters in the arms of the divers. Since then, every year is repeated the event, even if transferred to Calata Doria and illuminated by the lights of boats that come to admire it.
For Christmas 2017, the underwater nativity of Portovenere begins at 11 pm of December 24 with hot chocolate and tea served to warm up the waiting for Santa and his reindeer, who will bring gifts to the children from the sea.
Subsequently, the divers will bring the baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary to the surface in a shell. A procession through the streets of Portovenere lit by candlelight, will bring the nativity to San Lorenzo to celebrate the midnight mass.
In town, the feast features spectacular effects of water games and light that attract so many fans to admire the event of Jesus emerging from the water on the night of the eve.
Unless surprises on the program, also this year on December 24, at 11 pm, some divers swim to the surface in procession supporting the torches, while others go down deep to collect the shell that protects baby Jesus lying on the seabed to make it emerge among the torches. Once afloat, the shell opens between the firing signals of the divers and the water jets of the fire brigade. Transported to the shore, it will then be carried in procession to the church of Santa Maria Assunta for half past midnight
For almost 40 years, in fact, the village near Lerici is prepared for days by placing thousands of wax candles along the carugi of the village and on the cliff that surrounds the town. On the night of the eve, the lights illuminate in an absolutely unique panorama the emergence of the child Jesus carried by the divers of the Tellaro Sailing Club and then carried through the village to the church for Christmas mass. The event is accompanied by fireworks that will illuminate the village, counted among the most beautiful in Italy, in a show of light and emotions.
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The post Christmas in Cinque Terre and La Spezia: the Menu appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> Christmas is approaching and we begin to think of the party menus to delight the palate during the festivities of December 24th and 25th. Is there a traditional La Spezia and Cinque Terre Christmas menu?
Even if there is no local Cinque Terre Christmas menu for excellence, and often the festivities local cuisine deranges in national recipes, certainly there are some recurring traditions on local tables that can also be told to those who visit us and will be at the restaurant for Christmas in Cinque Terre or La Spezia.
For those who love to celebrate on the 24th, the tradition requires a dinner based on fish, so-called “skinny”, even if often it is not. But for the 25th, the hypothetical cook of Christmas in Cinque Terre who also rightly wants to abound to celebrate Christmas with dignity, will have to take some food from neighboring cities or regions. Probably, will cook a lunch or a dinner necessarily “sea and mountains” for the nature of the local culinary tradition that ranges from fish, in particular the blue one, to the abundant use of the products of the earth and of the meats and that makes difficult a menu completely of sea or land.
Frittelle di Baccalà
Torta di patate e acciughe e torta d’erbi
Mussels are unfortunately not in season: even if they are at the market and in restaurants, maybe Christmas is not the best time to taste a typical recipe of which locals are proud and greedy: the stuffed mussles. Another specialty, this time more generally Ligurian, to which we reluctantly but rightly must renounce, are the stratospheric fritters of bianchetti, or gianchetti: the small ones of the anchovies, very tasty, especially if fried in batter. To allow the anchovies to continue to proliferate in our sea, it is preferable not to give in to those who already offer them on the fishmonger’s bench (their season is in fact in the first months of the year). But the queens of the seas and the antipasti, the anchovies, give us extraordinary tastes, fried, stuffed or at scabecio (local version of scapece, or carpione, marinating in vinegar, salt and onion). The cod fritters, traditional in all of Liguria, hot and warm, are often found on the table on December 24th. The “cakes” are a constant of appetizers throughout the territory, in a thousand variations, which also include the presence, still, of anchovies.
Raviei di carne di maiale e vitello, parmigiano, boragine e timo al ragù
Raviei di pesce con all’olio e pomodorini
Raviei di patate con burro e salvia
Capeleti in brodo
Cima alla genovese
For the second courses, the La Spezia and Cinque Terre Christmas menu perhaps requires a widening of the borders. Going to the west and remaining in Liguria, the Cima alla genovese, a veal pocket filled with veal, various vegetables and marjoram, is one of the few typical dishes in Liguria considered a little less ‘poor’, and therefore suitable for Christmas. Not all the local families adopt it in their traditions, perhaps it depends on the degree of extension to the west of their family tree. The same applies to Capun Magro: a capon that is not hen but is marinated fish accommodated with bread and vegetables, an ancient recipe of Ligurian sailors to preserve the fish even during long trips by ship, and that today is considered a perfect delicacy for Christmas. Those who prefer meat, boiled capon (or other meat) served with green sauce is a Christmas specialty throughout northern Italy.
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The post Work in Progress for the Nativity in Manarola 2017 appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]>
Entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest illuminated nativity scene in the world, the lighting on the Hill of the Three Crosses of Manarola is now an unmissable event of Christmas in the Cinque Terre, which this year will illuminate the nights until January 31, 2018.
The whole village takes part in these days to the construction of this dream of light tenaciously desired and realized since 1961 by Mario Andreoli, who still today, 90, is the protagonist of the design and construction of the 250 figures in recycled material, of which lighting allowed by the 15.000 light bulbs and solar panels made available by the municipality of Manarola. The volunteers who are now part of the “Il Presepe di Mario” staff always refer to him to know how to build a piece, how to illuminate it to the best, where to place it. The silhouettes of shepherds and sheep, fishermen and fish that recall the life of the village, stand out on the hill called “delle tre croci” together with the hut that houses the Madonna, San Giuseppe and the baby, barely visible in their contours during the day and illuminated with a thousand colors starting from December 10th.
Initially and for many years alone, but with a great passion to animate it even against the adversities that have arisen, today Mario sees his nativity scene recognized all over the world for its beauty, as well as for the record sizes, and for the message of hope that can instill in the hearts of believers and non-believers.
Throughout the day, the Christmas Market will take place in Manarola, and the craft market will start at 3.30 pm
At about 2.30 pm: Arrival at the Railway Station of Manarola from Genoa of the special train organized by the Transport Department of the Liguria Region.
Puccini Filarmonica welcome concert conducted by Maestro Gabriele Castellani, dedicated to the delegation of disabled people, carers and families organized by the Regional Council for the protection of the rights of the disabled person the Fa.Di.Vi and Oltre Association.
Info:. +039 3387 914250/+39 0187 920697
Shuttle service available from 16:30 to 19:00, from the Parking area in Zorza di Riomaggiore (SP370) to Manarola
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The post Between Darkness and Light, Jodi Bieber’s personal exhibition at the Carispezia Foundation appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> On Saturday, December 2 at 5.30 pm, South African photographer Jodi Bieber’s exhibition Between Darkness and Light, Selected Works: South Africa 1994 – 2010 opens at the Carispezia Foundation, until March 4, 2018.
With Jodi Bieber’s photography, the course dedicated to contemporary photography by the Foundation continues. It started in 2015 with Back to the Future of Armenian-Syrian photographer Hrair Sarkissian, continued in 2016 by the Seven Japanese Rooms exhibition.
Jodi Bieber is one of the leading exponents of contemporary African photography. After attending three short courses at the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg, Jodi Bieber’s professional career began with photographs documenting the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa for The Star Newspaper, based in the capital. Subsequently, her images were selected to participate in the World Press Masterclass held in the Netherlands in 1996. From here, positions were followed for international journals and NGOs and the victory of numerous international awards including the Premier Award to the World Press Photo in 2010 with the famous portrait of Bibi Aisha, a young Afghan woman with her disfigured face. She is currently devoting herself to personal projects, including monographs exhibited at the Foundation Between dogs & wolves – Growing up with South Africa, Going home – Illegality and Repatriation, Women who have murdered their husbands and Soweto. Her work has also found room in some important collections such as the Artur Walther Collection, the François Pinault Collection, the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Iziko Museum Collection.
The exhibition Selected Works: South Africa 1994 – 2010, edited by Filippo Maggia, is the first great photographer exhibition. She will bepresent in La Spezia at the inauguration.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 16.30 to 19.30; Saturday and Sunday 10.30-13.00 and 16.30-19.30; closed December 25, 2017.
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The post Enjoying the blue deep: Scuba Diving in Cinque Terre and La Spezia appeared first on Cinque Terre & Beyond.]]> The Gulf of Poets and Cinque Terre have many beauties, and the marine background of the whole area is not less worthy. More and more appreciated by diving lovers from all over the world, scuba diving in Cinque Terre and La Spezia offers a wide variety of animal and vegetable species to the depths enthusiasts.
The area is subject to seawater protection regulations, and it is important to contact the many diving centers in the area to have the necessary support to know them and make the best diving excursions safely even for those who own only a first level diving patent.
Find a suggestive wide opening in the rock circumnavigating the island of Palmaria on the west side. The cave is high a few meters above sea level and continues under the surface for twenty meters, with spectacular blue water light reflections inside the cave. Diving among the rocks, there are easily found several species of invertebrates.
Tinetto’s isle can look just as small as a cliff but hides in its backdrop, albeit somewhat muddy, a cave where lobsters swim and whose large entrance is decorated with sponges, tunicates, nudibranches and anemones. Diving for about 20 feet deep following the light that filters out of the surface, in a narrowing path that opens in another place, between beautiful light and shades games.
At the end of the Cinque Terre, in Punta Mesco, a beautiful dive can be done following the wall on the right and descending along a slope that goes down to a muddy sea depth about 30 meters and characterized by the presence of beautiful red gorgonians and sea daisies. The wildlife that can be encountered in the blue of Punta Mesco is of murenas, browned horns, daggers, barracudas and lobsters.
Punta Pineda is a very suggestive spot, easily reachable by sea, characterized by a strong tide from the west which gives water transparency and therefore rich in curls, toothpicks and tuna. The “swimming pools” are shaped like horse saddles and reach 12 meters maximum depth. Following the wall, it gets about 18 meters deep, there are many gorgonie up to 30 meters deep where it is easy to find dangers with clumps and mounds.
The Maralunga Cave near Lerici is for some of archaeological interest, because ancient marble blocks visible on the backdrop would witness the shipwreck of a Roman-era ship. For others, the name “Brigantine Cave” dates back to a more recent time, when a brigantine hid in the cave, probably destroying its trees, because followed by pirate ships. It is forbidden to approach the cave by boat, so enthusiasts leave ground from inside the Caletta di Lerici, a very impressive place on the coast of Maralunga, especially in the morning with the sun rising to the east. Taking the coast to the right, leave behing the Maramozza Tip, after a while the coast finds the cave, emerged for about 15 meters and deep about 40 meters in the white limestone of the coast at this point. Near and inside the cave little saraghi and occhiate fish grow up safely.
Diving in Cinque Terre, there is also the possibility of discovering several wrecks: one of these is the wreck of Equa, a ship built in 1929 by the Parthenopean Armaturan Society of Naples which was “forced” to a use submarines destroyer in 1940 and sank on June 10, 1944, due to a protrusion by a German unit, two miles off Riomaggiore. The ship is in good condition, and widely visited in the midst of anemones jewel, lobsters, chestnuts, sponges and oysters.
At about 45 meters, Equa is still on the east / west route of its sailing. You can see the top deck at a depth of 34 mt, the lower deck and the control room, where the lobsters are sheltered. Along the left keel is a machine gun with turret and a perfectly preserved anti-aircraft cannon. Continuing, for the most skilled, it is possible to access the machine room, toilets, to the aft where the depth bombing equipment is seen.
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