These “secche” are a completely submerged hill that rises up from a seabed of mud and sand off the coast near Rome. This protuberance starts in waters that are up to 60m deep and the point closest to the surface is still 18m underwater. This underwater hill seems impervious to the sediments and pollution brought down by the Tiber and healthy meadows of Posidonia grow on its rocks. In deeper waters large, hollowed out boulders provide the perfect environment for sea life. There are coralligenous colonies with mostly red violescent sea-whip that here grow to be very large, colonies of bryozoans, ascidians or sea squirts and pillow coral. In rocky cracks you can find octopus, conger fish, moray eels, drum fish, red snappers, red fish and groupers, while on the surface there are frequent sighting of dolphins and sometimes even moonfish (Mola mola).

Marine Area Protected

Founded in 2000, the Marine Protected Area covers an area of 1.387 hectares, and only has zone B general reserve areas. It’s the only Marine Protected Area in all of Italy that only has submerged areas. The Secche are a single rocky “island” in the Tiber estuary that lies about 5nm from the national park of Castel Fusano and the President’s reserve at Castel Porziano,

West of Torvaianica and south east of Lido di Ostia.

The submerged hill stretches NE/SW, and is 2km long and about 500m wide. The zone B general reserve is delimitated with yellow buoys with signal lights. For years there have been plans to extend the Protected Area to the coast by Castel Porziano.

Useful Contacts

Ente RomaNatura
Villa Mazzanti
via Gomenizza, 81 – 00195 Roma
tel. 06/35405310
Centro visite
via del Canale di Castel Fusano, 13
00122 Ostia (RM)
Guardia Costiera di Fiumicino
tel. 06/656171

By Boat

The area is good for daytrips and you can organise a tour with one of the many diving centres along the mainland coast, at the Marina di Roma in Ostia and at Torvaianica. The best spots are the “Canaloni” or for less expert divers, “Cappello” and “Le Tane”.