The best way to visit the Area Marina Protetta Capo Rizzuto, or Protected Marine Area of Capo Rizzuto off the Crotone coast in Calabria, is by strapping on your scuba diving gear and dropping beneath the surface.
The second best way is to keep your clothes on and step aboard a glass bottomed boat which will take you on a guided tour.
About 42km of the sea off the coast is protected and divided into three zones. Zone C is partial reserve where only underwater sea fishing is not permitted. Zone B is the general reserve where bathing, underwater guided tours and general shipping of no more than 5 knots is allowed. Zone A is the total reserve and there are 3 such zones near Capo Colonna, Capo Cimiti and Capo Bianco.
Every sea activity is off limits, as well as diving, although guided snokelling tours to the view the submerged columns off Capo Cimiti can be requested.
Nevetheless, there are underwater routes elsewhere to view ship wrecks and other historical artefacts. Off Le Castella, for example, it is possible to see ruins such as food storage silos and even ladders from the destruction of the Greek wall of the imposing fortress.
There is also the century old wreck, the Bengala, which has been colonized by an important colony of brown groupers. Off Capo Donato the wreck of a large ship from the 17th century is still visible, while on the southern side of Capo Colonna and Capo Pellegrino marble columns from ancient Roman ships can be seen.
The ports giving access to the protected sea zone are the Old Port of Crotone, the New Harbour in Crotone and the Port of Le Castella.
The Centro Direzionale, or main office of the Area Marina Protetta Capo Rizzuto, is located in Via C.Columbo in central Crotone just off the beach. It is also a information point where to pick up brochures, dive maps and plan your sea visit.
It is also very handy for the Palazzo Foti Hotel (www.palazzofoti.it) just opposite which I had the opportunity to visit as part of a site inspection. Consider this clean and elegant new 4 star hotel located in a old harbor front residence for your stay in Crotone.
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