The Christ of the Abyss

Portofino Marine Park is home to the most famous dive in the Mediterranean and one of the most famous dives in the world, “The Christ of the Abyss” (“Il Cristo Degli Abissi”) rests 12 metres down on the sea-bed in the magical bay of San Fruttuoso.
San Fruttuoso sits on a small inlet in the Marine Park and is the site of a small Benedictine abbey, “San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte” which has a long history that dates back to the 8th century when Prospero, the Bishop of Tarragon, chose this site to lay to rest the ashes of the Bishop, San Fruttuoso, who was martyred in the 3rd century. The church and monastery were damaged by the Saracens but rebuilt by the Benedictines in the 10th century. Subsequently, in the 13th century the Abbey fell under the patronage of the powerful Genoese Doria family, who built the current structure that is open to the public, but it is reachable only by foot or by sea.
The Marine Park is also steeped in scuba diving history and “The Christ of the Abyss” is a testament to that.
“The Christ of the Abyss” is a giant, submerged statue cast in bronze from recovered naval vessels and other nautical sources. The statue was commissioned by Dulio Marcante in memory of Dario Gonzatti who lost his life during a dive testing ARO equipment in early 1947.
Dario Gonzatti together with Egidio Cressi and Duilio Marcante created and tested the first prototypes of ‘Self-Contained Oxygen Breathing Apparatus’ (ARO) in these waters.
“The Christ of the Abyss” has now become a unique monument to all those who devote their lives to the ocean.
All divers should share in this piece of scuba diving history by diving “The Christ of the Abyss” at least once in their life!

Underwater landscape: Wall and slope

Average depth: 20m

Visibility: Good

Dive level: Easy

Current: No current

Environment: Gorgonians, red coral, sea grass, coral

Marine Life: Snappers, groupers, sea breams, bogues (boops boops), croakers, lobsters & conger & moray eels