Experienced scuba divers and beginners will find their fill of the blue along the Tuscan coast and its islands. These clear waters and pristine environments reveal nature at its most impressive, from bright coral to an abundance of aquatic fish that will accompany you on your underwater adventuring.
Experienced divers adore this reef off Monte Argentario on the Tuscan mainland. Located in the middle of the channel between the islands of Giannutri, Giglio and the Argentario headland, expect to see stunning sponges and soft yellow and red corals. Large grouper fish, urchin and lobster all live in the clear waters of this Mediterranean canyon.
Semi-submerged by the entrance to Cala Piccola, off Monte Argentario, these shallows are home to a wealth of red corals, tunnels and caves. At 25 metres beneath the surface, a rock face opens up that teems with yellow cluster anemones and swarms of narval shrimp, while at 30 metres down there’s a striking natural arch, where it’s common to come across snappers and amberjack.
Go diving around the Le Formiche di Grosseto, three islets off the Maremma nature park. The Secca di Zi Paolo, north of the islet with the lighthouse, begins four metres beneath the surface; the west side offers a gentle descent. The Formichino, on the other hand, reveals a cornicopia of coral at 45 metres down as well as the remains of a Roman shipwreck.
Scuba diving opposite the Ghiaie Beach in Elba Island’s Portoferraio is an unforgettable experience. This protected nature area is now a real-life aquarium, especially at the eastern end where impressively sized grouper fish swim undeterred by the divers. Look closely and you’ll also observe a pot pourri of fish, from elegant corbs to red gurnard, snappers and bonitos.
Expert divers can plunge 40 to 50 metres into these depths off Giannutri Island (strictly avoiding the adjacent protected nature reserve) to swim alongside the likes of fearsome-looking barracuda, sunfish and snappers. Discover the cracks and caves to admire the stunning sponges and luscious lobsters, while John Dory fish lurk in the seagrass.
Situated off the central south part of Elba Island, this prime diving territory is a few hundred metres off the Capo Fonza coast. Follow the reef south to see ostentatious coral, lobsters and nudibranchs, while predatory barracuda and snappers swim in the blue. Remember to check out the two little underwater caves covered with colourful sponges. The return to the surface is usually accompanied by a cloud of chromis and rainbow wrasse.
Diving off Pianosa Island is worth the ferry ride from the mainland. Strap on your mask and explore the clear waters of this untouched paradise named after a four-metre anchor found 25 metres below the surface. Check out the shrimp, groupers, sponges, lobsters and, if you’re lucky, even some tuna and amberjack. Impressive snappers and barracuda might even put in an appearance.
Venture to the far north of Capraia Island for some easy scuba diving, with the occasional stronger current. Descend to 15-18 metres and amble alongside shoals of barracuda, groupers and amberjack. There’s also the opportunity to explore the archaeological site, where a Roman shipwreck was discovered a few years ago.
Explore this 65-metre-long cargo ship, which was transporting cars when it sank in 1976 due to strong winds. Dive around the wreck and the outer reef of Cala Maestra off the west coast of Giannutri Island. Tuna and amberjack are in abundance in the autumn. Only divers experienced in decompression can dive in these waters due to the depths of between 48 and 60 metres.
The northern point of Giglio Island offers astonishing scuba encounters with all types of corals, shrimp and rockfish along the gentle slope of the seabed. The best photo opportunities are found at a depth of 36 metres where the two rock massifs meet one another. Diving in the cove beneath the lighthouse is equally picturesque with its variety of sponges and corals.