The northern coast of the Isle of Ischia has been designated at Marine Protected Area because there are many kinds of cetaceans there; stenellas, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, grampus and long finned pilot, sperm and fin whales can all be spotted in the area. The seabed has a wide and deep underwater valley called the Canyon di Cuma. This area offers the perfect habitat for marine mammals and is a place where they both feed and reproduce. Common dolphins, despite their name, are amongst the most rare in the Med but live here year round. Even though the area is very popular with tourists the varied seabed is well preserved and still offers great biodiversity. All around the Vivara island there are meadows of Posidonia
oceanica, Zostera nana and Cymodocea nodosa that are very important to sustaining the area’s biodiversity as they offer both feeding grounds and hiding places. Along rocky faces there are dense colonies of Astroides calycularis pillow coral. On rocky outcrops, submerged walls and shady cracks you’ll find red algae, red and yellow violescent sea-whip, bryozoans, sponges and small colonies of red coral that get larger as the waters get deeper. Divers can make thrilling discoveries at Punta Sant’Angelo or Punta San Pancrazio. You can see branches of false black coral (Gerardia savaglia) along the vertical walls and observe large pelagic fish. The Formiche di Ischia area has lots of cracks and grottoes emerging from a stony seabed at about 20m deep. In the waters of the Marine Protected Area you can hire local fishing boats for fishing tours then eat your catch aboard.
Marine Protected Area
The most recently created Marine Protected Area in Italy, Regno di Nettuno was founded in 2008 and includes the waters surrounding the islands of Procida, Vivara and Ischia in the north-western part of the Gulf of Naples. These islands are a natural continuation of the
Campi Flegrei and include the towns on Ischia called Casamicciola Terme, Lacco Ameno,
Barano, Ischia, Serrara Fontana and Forio and the town of Procida. All of these towns are united in a consortium to manage the Marine Protected Area.
Consorzio di gestione, c/o Comune di Forio
piazza Municipio, n. 1 – 80075 Forio (Na)
tel. 081/3332911 – Fax 081/3332927
Capitaneria di porto di Ischia
via Iasolino, 10 – tel. 081/991417
Capitaneria di porto di Procida
via Roma, 3 – tel. 081/8967381
Navigation towards Ischia is easy. If you set off from Ventotene you have to be careful not to get too close to the coast between Punta Vico and Casamicciola where there are submerged rocks. The area is called Secca del Santuario, and it’s about 640nm NW of the entrance to the Casamicciola port. If you decide to sail around the island you have to be careful to stay wide at the western side where there are dangerous rocks just under the surface. The island has lots of places to dock including the main port of Ischia, the largest port and also the safest. It can be hard to see the very narrow entrance to the port. Casamicciola has a well equipped marina that’s being restored but the tiny port at Monte S. Angelo wins the prize for most beautiful docking spot. The Canale di Ischia that separates Ischia from Procida (or Vivara to be exact), is just over 1nm and sometimes tidal currents can be strong. The Secche delle Formiche are at the centre of the canal. Procida is the least glamorous of these islands. Low lying and mostly formed of tufa stone, it’s very fertile and almost entirely cultivated with lemon groves and vineyards. The whole northern side of the coast is shallow and has sandbars and submerged rocks. At the centre of the canal that separates Procida from Capo Miseno you have to be careful of the Secca del Torrione. On the southern side of the island you’ll find Chiaiolella, a natural harbour whose entrance is protected by two piers. This is a pleasant and well-equipped stopping place. On the northern side of the island you’ll find the main town, the commercial port and the marina where charter companies have their offices. You should really go see the nearby and beautiful Marina di Corricella.