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Tuscan Archipelago >> ART and CULTURE
Underwater archaeology

Due to the strategic location, the Tuscan islands have always been used as a shelter for the navigators. Still today it is possible to find many wreckages which testify not only the antique and adventurous shipwrecks, but also the conflicts during the I World War and the II World War close to the coastline and the courses in the waters that surround the Tuscan archipelago.
From the Prehistory to the Romans
From the Middle Ages to the Medici Family
From the Medici Family to Napoleon
From Napoleon till Today
The Procchio Wreckage
In the waters in front of the gulf of Procchio and the Campo nell'Aia beach, at 2 metres depth, there is a semi-covered wreckage from the I-II century A.C. Only the head emerges from the sand, while the keel is 30 metres under the sand and it seems that the inhabitants of Procchio have taken sulphur for the vineyards from the wreckage thanks to its accessible location. The ship, that probably was about 20 metres long, have preserved and returned to the archaeologists plumb slabs amphorae, tiles, precious glasses, sulphur cakes, granite balls and a precious ivory statuette which represents Bacchus and Pan. A small oil-lamp with the brand Ialex was found on the ship. It is the same brand as the one found on a brick in the Roman villa of Cavo. Presumably the ship transported materials for the building of the Villa of Cavo.
The Pomonte Wreckage
The ship-wreckage that sank in the 70's lies at a depth of 15 metres, close to the Ogliera rock, which got its name from the sea-anemone that grows along its walls. It is a almost 40 metres long ship with wood that sank close to Pomonte due to a violent tempest.
The Porto Azzurro Treasure
The history of Elba is inevitably signed by the findings of real treasures and the ever-lasting search for legendary ones. This is the case of the Porto Azzurro treasure that according to the legend sank together with the Spanish ship "Polluce" that transported a big part of the goods of the king of Naples, Ferdinand IV. The amazing stories told by the survivors, which spoke about coffers full of gold and extraordinary precious art, have stimulated the treasure-hunters and people who fancy underwater archaeology. But the soundings of Porto Azzurro have not returned anything yet. And the legend continues.
Giglio Campese

In 1961 a group of divers, not very experienced ones and little consciousness, found at the rocks close to the shoal of Secci I Pinocchi, the wreckage of an Etruscan ship which sank 2600 years ago. They took all the precious goods aboard: Phoenician and Punic amphorae, Etruscan vases, Corinthian cups and a precious Corinthian bronze helmet. But the bravado of these pseudo sea-lovers did not manage to take all of the invaluable treasure of the ship dragged down into the depths and that according to the scientist goes back to the Etruscan, or even the Greek period. The excavations have revealed a stump of the keel and the rests of the planking and brought back wood flutes, cups, oil-lamps, vases, weapons, plectrums, a writing-desk and other items from Turkey, Greece, the Etruscan ports and the north of Africa. The Corinthian helmet taken by the divers is still in the hands of the German tourist who took the goods from the wreckage and he intends to keep it. It is a Corinthian masterpiece with two wild-boars engraved on the top and a palm-tree with eleven petals engraved on the cheeks.
The Nasim Wreckage

At 4 a.m. the 12th of February 1976, the ship Nasim chocked against the rocks of Punta Penello and sank. The wreckage of this big ship under the Panamanian flag sailed between Livorno and Alexandria and lies at a depth of 60 metres. Experienced divers can thus see where it lies, surrounded by the cars that it was shipping.
The Anna Bianca Wreckage
The wreckage that sank in the 70's for unknown reasons, lies at a depth of 40 metres on the sand shoals of Cala Ischiaiola. The ship is divided in two parts and the ward-room lies just a few metres away, while it is difficult to visit the machinery-room as there is a tangle of cables and flotsam around. The most evil inhabitants say that the crew had planned the accident in order to tap the insurance company for money.
The Aeroplane Wreckage

A German fighter fell into the water close to Capraia during World War II. The wreckage still lies at about 600 metres from the port entrance, at 45 metres.
The Motorboat Wreckage
About 20 years ago a motorboat suddenly caught fire and was dragged out from the port to about 100 metres from the cape of Porto Vecchio where it still lies at a depth of about 40 metres and hosts sea-eels and white breams.

Photos from APT Tuscan Archipelago and Mediaweb srl.
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