The fashion capital of Italy, Milan is a hot destination for travellers from around the world. Served by three airports, and practically in the heart of the Italian Lakes, the city is a popular starting destination for scuba divers heading to the north of Italy. A colourful destination with a vibrant lifestyle, the city is within driving distance of the Italian Lakes, and the coastline of the Ligurian Sea at Genoa is a short drive to the south.
Scuba diving in Milan doesn’t focus particularly on the city itself, although there are plenty of dive shops and gear outlets to choose from. To visit the best dive sites you need to head out to the east or the south, where open water gives divers plenty of choice. Most of these locations are within a reasonable driving time from the city, but for divers wanting to extend their underwater trip, overnight accommodation near the chosen dive site is recommended.
Wreck dives near the coast can be found to some extreme depths that are only suitable for experienced scuba deep divers, with the Milford Haven topping the list of maritime wrecks. The Ligurian coastline is also filled with beautiful coral reefs to explore and sunken Roman treasures to admire. Dive sites can be found all along this stretch, reaching from the border with France in the west, right down Italy’s coast in the direction of Rome. There are some additional dive sites as far to the east as Venice, but it can take at least a full day to travel here from Rome, which makes it less accessible as a single day outing.
Milan and the northern most part of Italy generally enjoy good weather throughout the year, but winters can become particularly cold. Diving is recommended between April and October, but is perfectly possible all year round with the right wetsuit- this is especially important in the colder freshwater lakes to the north.
Scuba diving in the north of Italy has become increasingly popular over the years thanks to the increase in tourism to the Italian Lakes. Lake Garda, Lake Como, and Lake Iseo are just three of the most popular stretches of inland water in Italy, and with relatively clear depths and few currents to speak of, they are ideal locations for beginner divers or as part of an Italian holiday at the foot of the Dolomites. One of the most popular dive sites in this location is Villa Bella, a rocky wall dive in the fresh waters of Lake Garda. Reaching to depths of up to 90m, this lake is the largest in the Veneto region of Italy, and a popular place for divers. The currents at this site are relatively gentle, and the wall is an interesting sight with relatively good visibility. Marine creatures found here include pike, trout, and other large shoals of edible fish.
An hour and a half south of Milan, the Ligurian Sea comes into view along with its abundant dive sites and interesting marine life. One of its most famous sites is the Il Cristo Degli Abissi, the location of the sunken statue of Christ by Guido Galleti. Sunk on purpose in the 1950’s, it was designed to be the focal point of divers’ attention, as well as having the purpose of watching over them. It lies just south of Genoa in around 17m depth and enjoys good visibility to approximately 20m. It’s a great site for advanced divers, although not recommended for beginners due to the occasionally strong tides.
In the same area, the most famous of all wreck dives, the Milford Haven, attracts deep divers with skills in wreck exploration. This is the largest wreck in the Mediterranean, and lies at a maximum depth of 85m. Because of its angle, the top of this supertanker, which sank after an explosion on board, sits in just 30m of water, making it perfectly accessible for experienced divers. But aside from the wreckage, the site is also ideal for spotting sperm whales, and bottlenose and striped dolphins.
Although the opportunities for diving in the area around the city of Milan itself are limited, there isn't any shortage of dive shops. With the Ligurian coastline around one-and-a-half-hour drive away, and the Italian Lakes and the waters around Venice a few hours to the east, Milan offers a perfectly central location for shops and clubs to serve visiting divers. It’s also a convenient entry point to Italy, with several airports close by for both domestic and international flights. Malpensa in the northwest, and Bergamo in the east, are its busiest.
Just on the outskirts of Milan, MondoSub is a 5 Star PADI Instructor Center and a member of the Divers Alert Network for Europe. Originally formed as a non-for-profit club rather than a business venture, MondoSub is now a leading instructor site offering the full range of PADI courses as well as local diving trips, and group visits to other destinations around the world.
On the Ligurian Sea, a few miles west of Genoa – which, incidentally has its own airport (the Christopher Columbus airport) – Divenjoy is an aptly named scuba diving outfit created in 2002 that was awarded the PADI Best Dive Outift for Europe Award in 2007. They hold a PADI Gold Palm Instructor Award and work with students to learn coursework interactively online as well as in pre-prepared classroom exercises. They focus their dives on sites close to their station, including the interesting Landslide dive site, and the Pied Piper, a favourite with beginners.
Inland, and just at the head of Lake Garda near the town of Torbole, Ambiente Acqua is an outfit that specializes in exploring the freshwater sites of the Italian Lakes. Running a 5 Star PADI outfit with courses as high as technical diving qualifications, they run daily trips onto Lake Garda, and schedule others for the nearby inland waterways. What makes Ambiente Acqua a little different is their commitment to conservation. They hold regular ‘clean-up’ parties in the Lakes, encouraging divers to help free the waters of litter and other debris, and it’s just one local effort to preserve the natural beauty of this spectacular area.
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Near Marina Corta is the diving center la Gorgonia. With Pino and Michele you will discover the beauties of the eolian ilands. I did my first steps there and they gave me the passion for the underwater. Ask Pino for an advice, if you need a course or only a boat to drop you somewhere I'm sure he will help you out! Nice place & good people for sure
L'approccio alla subacquea avuto con Stefano Levanto, il proprietario, è stato veramente soddisfacente. Da tempo desideravo fare quest'esperienza e grazie a lui ho preso il brevetto OWD. Inutile dire che la mia personale passione e il piacere delle lezioni di Stefano mi hanno portato a voler prendere altre certificazioni. Consigliatissimo!
Scuba diving in the north of Italy has become increasingly popular over the years thanks to the increase in tourism to the Italian Lakes. Lake Garda, Lake Como, and Lake Iseo are just three of the mos...
Although the opportunities for diving in the area around the city of Milan itself are limited, there isn't any shortage of dive shops. With the Ligurian coastline around one-and-a-half-hour drive away...