WHERE: Villasimius, on the south-east coast, 50 km from Cagliari
location: Isola dei Cavoli, between the two Variglioni
seabed: rocky, granite turning to sand
depth: 12-14 m.
current: when there are southeastern south-west winds
visibility: good in every season
summer temperature: 22° C
winter temperature: 13° C
worth seeing: the big trachyte statue, about 4-m high, by the Sardinian sculptor Pinuccio Sciola.
On the second-last Sunday in July, an underwater votive festival in honour of the Madonna del Naufrago takes place. Hundreds of skin-divers lay garlands of flower at the foot of the statue. The skin-diving parish priest of Villasimius says a prayer on the seabed, accompanied by members of the military and police skin-diving squads, while the ships blow their horns.
Fauna: home to shoals of saddled bream (Oblada melanura), groupers (Epinehelus marginatus) and corvines (Sciaena umbra).
The Madonnina is marked by a bronze plate on the external wall of the Variglione, and by a buoy anchored directly to the base of the statue. It is possible to dive to the base of the sculpture using a rope. The statue is located 12 m underwater.
A visit in the surrounding gorges, rich in fauna, is very interesting.
photo: Efisio Pinna