The Gallinara island

 

In a southerly direction, about a mile from the coast, the spiral profile of Gallinaria or Gallinara stands out. The island, which for its particular naturalistic, environmental, historical and archaeological value determined the establishment of the Gallinara Regional Natural Park in 1989, owes its curious name to the presence of wild hens that populated it in Roman times, as evidenced by Varro and Columella in some writings of the II and I century BC . With its 11 hectares of surface, the Gallinara is represented on the geographical maps as a barely visible point, but it is the only true island of Liguria (the others - the Tino, Bergeggi, the Palmaria - are, in comparison, simple rocks still tied to the mainland by an umbilical cord that here, instead, the bite of the currents has cut off net). Since 2013, the Reserve  of Gallinara island Multimedia Center  has been active, which allows a very interesting virtual tour of the island. 

Scuba diving

Scuba diving, the underwater activity, due to the presence of unexploded ordnance on the seabed and due to the presence of a wreck is allowed only if accompanied by the local guides of the affiliated diving centers. The island has two diving points:

  • Christ the Redeemer or Falconara tip  

In the seabed the dive is rather simple and shallow, up to a maximum of 18 meters, unless you want to continue beyond a step to dive up to 22. The benthic fauna is abundant and characterized by remarkable colonies of  nudibranchi,  while beyond the step there are abundant sea daisies.

  • Sciusciau tip 

From 15 to 30 doesn't present any particular difficulty, except for the depth and, sometimes, for the current. It is common to observe specimens of good size of groupers, morays, octopuses and scorpion fish and, towards the 30 meters of depth, of sponges also of big dimensions.

On the seabed and on the walls you can find sea daisies, yellow sponges, rare Chaetaster longipes and a great abundance of benthic life.

Outdoor activties

 

Submerged wreck

In the backdrops around Gallinara island a Roman trade vessel was found in 1950: the first discovered and explored on the seabed. it's  load of amphorae, suveryed and brought to light in the following nine years with the help of a recovered ship, the Artiglio, is today kept in the Roman Naval Museum, still located in the Peloso Cepolla palace, in the heart of the historical center of Albenga.

 

The recovery, the first example of underwater archeology in Italy, was wanted and completed by Nino Lamboglia, an extraordinary archeology graduate who focused his interests in particular on the city of Albenga and here he founded, in 1932, the Ingauna Archaeological Historical Society. which since 1947 became the International Institute of Ligurian Studies.

Visit the roman naval museum

 

Christ submerged

On 29 September 1998 a statue of Christ the Redeemer was placed in the depths of the Gallinara. The bronze monument, located in the bend of Falconara tip of the island, has become a destination for divers, in particular lovers of underwater archaeological paths. The statue is 18 meters deep and the vertical descent in his arms is suggestive and without difficulty.
On 12 June 2011, the Centro Idea Blu organized, in collaboration with HSA Italy, the laying of a plaque in Braille language carried out by a group of four disabled people, including a blind person, escorted by the 5th core divers of Genoa and the Commander of the Captaincy of the port of Alassio.

 

 

The hermitage of San Martin

A fascinating and secluded site, by its very nature, has generated various legends, the most famous of which concerns Santo Martino di Tours. The Saint, fleeing from Milan due to the persecution of the Arians, chose the island as the site of his own hermitage between 356 and 360 AD.

In the 4th century AD, just to pay homage to the Holy hermit, the Benedictine monks built it and dedicated an important abbey, whose possessions extended also to the mainland up to Provence and Catalonia. In 1866 the island was sold to private individuals, who built modern buildings on the ruins of the abbey. Of the presence of the Holy hermit remains a cave on the western side where, presumably, Martin found refuge

The path of the Saints Martini


 

 

The Mediterranean scrub

Along the four and a half kilometers of the walk you will be able to admire the typical flora of the "Mediterranean scrub". It is a widespread and common vegetation throughout the Mediterranean basin, favored by the mild climate and the beneficial influence of the "closed sea", protected by the Atlantic and continental winds. The Julia Augusta street crosses a precious "ecological niche" where heather, agave, lentisco, cistus, arbutus, maritime pine, myrtle, rosemary, caper, juniper, olive, broom, alaterno, carob, holm oak, rue, laurel, oleander, holly, thyme, honeysuckle, stracciabraghe, prickly pear cactus.

All these botanical varieties, very different from each other, are manifested in particular environmental conditions that botanists call "climax". The vegetation can be admired above all at the end of autumn; there are essences in bloom all year round.

Visit the multimedia center

 

 

In December you can admire the bellflower that has the color of the sky and the sea; the vermilion arbutus, the sacred myrtle of Venus, the delicate cyst villus and sea. All these shrub species that characterize the "Mediterranean scrub" have in common some peculiarities: the low growth, the resistant stem and the stiff and leathery leaves that make them able to tolerate the salty winds that blow from the sea. Among the various shrub species of the "bush", foxes, badgers, wild boars, hares, hawks, buzzards, starlings, magpies and blackbirds find nourishment and shelter that accompany the passenger, which can sometimes startle, with their loud and noisy presence.

Naturalistic paradise

Mountainous body, which rises 87 meters above sea level, the Gallinara coasts are rocky and rich in ravines and develop on a circumference of about 1534 meters. In ancient times the island was a reference point for navigation and many boats, surprised by sudden fortunes, found protection along the northern slope.

A guardian lives permanently at Gallinara, with the task of preserving it from fires while maintaining the more than 10 kilometers of paths that cross it in perfect efficiency. The island is not accessible to tourists, as it is detrimental to the integrity of an environment that has developed sheltered from all human conditioning, this guarantees the status of a small naturalistic paradise in many ways yet to be discovered. Through the service of private companies it is possible to approach the island without obviously docking.