Diving off the Italian Riviera: Christ of the Abyss


Diving off the Italian Riviera

Submerged and then cemented to the sea floor of the Mediterranean over 50 years ago, the underwater statue of Christ of the Abyss (Cristo degli Abissi) is one of the most famous dive destinations in Italy. The statue is found in the waters between the Ligurian towns of Camogli and Portofino, and it commemorates the diver (and the first Italian to use SCUBA gear) Dario Gonzetti, who died during a dive near the spot in 1950. 


Since the 2.5m tall statue praises the heavens in just 15m of water, diving down for a look is considered an easy dive. Use a local dive shop in Portofino such as this one to organize an excursion to the site. Non-divers can see a copy of the statue in the nearby San Fruttuoso Abbey or at the Diving Museum in Ravenna.

Other submerged Christ of the Abyss statues in Italy include one in the Lake of Palú (link in Italian), a lake close to the Swiss and Austrian borders. Another one, recently repaired due to vandalism, is found off the Island of Giglio in the Tuscan Archipelago.

Outside of Italy, there is a Christ of the Abyss in the port of St. George, on the Caribbean island of Grenada; and another submerged off Key Largo, Florida.


Photo by Stella Styles

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  1. Ahmed Makkawi
    October 9, 2011

    this is really a nice post luved it I soo wanna do this dive

  2. emily zh
    April 21, 2014

    this is magical, i swam down and touched the hand of Christ. Even though I am Jewish, it was a surreal and unusual experience. the restaurants on san fruittoso are stupendous.

  3. Bjarne Ims Henriksen
    September 30, 2014

    i´m a Norwegian under water photographer who dived at the site in the early 90´s
    and I´m sorry that I did´nt have a camera with me that day.
    Now I´m 69 years old and not able to take the tripp again for photographing.

  4. Italy: Portofino (Liguria region) - Life Aficionados
    September 20, 2018

    […] SML that I did not know about until after I left. In the water just offshore, there is a statue of Christ of the Abyss that, it seems, is easy to dive to. So now I’m already mentally planning my return trip since […]


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