The most beautiful dives among silver fish and Roman shipwrecks
Gallinara Island is a small island visible from Alassio, which has become a Regional Nature Park thanks to its rare Mediterranean vegetation and unspoilt environment.It can be visited by taking part in maritime excursions from spring to autumn; the boats leave from Porto Ferrari in Alassio and include a stop for swimming. The pleasant name of the island derives from the wild hens that populated it in the past, as reported by Cato and Varro. Now the most common bird is the herring gull, which nests here so successfully that it has created one of the largest colonies in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Between 356 and 360 the island was chosen as a refuge by St. Martin of Tous, and then became the seat of an important monastery that extended its influence over the entire Riviera di Ponente and in the 11th century also over Catalonia and Provence. In the following centuries the abbey fell into ruin and was depopulated. Traces of that ancient past are today the ruins of the monastery, the 16th century tower and the small neo-Gothic church.
But the island's main attraction is its unspoilt marine environment.
The seabed is home to many rare species of the Ligurian Sea and is of indescribable beauty: the vertical rocky cliffs and crags that drop sheer into the sea, especially at Punta Sciusciau and Punta Falconara, are characterised by formations of corals, gorgonians and multi-coloured sponges, while the seabed in the northern area is covered by a large meadow of Posidonia oceanica. There are not only silver fish, moray eels and other wonderful sea creatures in the Gallinara sea. The island was a landing place for Phoenician, Greek and Roman sailors. The waters around the island contain important archaeological findings, including two wrecks of Roman cargo ships (1st century B.C.) laden with amphorae. One of the two ships is currently the largest wreck in the Mediterranean. The island is private property, so it can only be visited from the sea