In the western area of Liguria, just off the coast of Albenga not far away from Loano there is the Isla (Isola) Gallinara, a small island that looks like a turtle. The Gallinara is uninhabited and is not allowed to visit it, but there is the possibility to do some tour boat around the island.
The Gallinara is called like this because in the past was populated by wild hens (galline in Italian) as it’s documented by Catone.
Here took refuge San Martino from Tours, but at the end of 300 ‘there was founded a monastery of Colombian monks who later became the residence of the Benedictines.
In 1842 the monastery was then sold to individuals.
During the Second World War the island was occupied by the Germans, and the prisoners of war dug two tunnels of two meters by three, in which the projectiles were stored.
Excursions to the Island Gallinara
The island is a site of community interest, thanks to its cultural, historical and environmental heritage.
Throughout the year you can take an excursion to the island; even if you can not put your feet on the ground of Gallinara, it is still worth taking a boat ride to admire the tropical vegetation, which thanks to the Mediterranean climate is thriving.
From a distance you can then see the ancient Benedictine monastery and the Genoese watchtower, built to identify pirate ships off the coast. Also you can admire the votive chapel of San Martino da Tours who lived on the island of a hermit.
o the north lies the small harbor for private docking, from which a path leads to the monastery.
The shallow depths are rich in Mediterranean marine fauna and flora, including large sponges, morays, bass, groupers, octopus and scorpion fish.
Once the underwater activity was forbidden, due to unexploded ordnance that lies in the depths, but then this was restored; it is therefore possible to dive as long as they are carried out under the protection of specialized and authorized diving centers.
There are two points for diving: Punta Falconara from which you can see the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer of the abyss, located on the seabed in 1998, at a depth of 18 meters. The other is Punta Sciusciau, from where you can see the fauna that populates the crystalline waters.
Moreover, during the circumnavigation of the island you can visit all the bays, the cliffs and the ravines, listening to curiosities, news and stories about the fascinating island.
Boat trips leave all year round, depending on weather conditions, from Loano, Alassio and Laigueglia and are organized by the Seasafari team. From the port of departure you can reach the island within twenty minutes of navigation, you circumnavigate the island and then you throw the anchor allowing visitors to swim and engage in snorkeling.
It is also good to know that:
- the trip lasts about 2 hours and 30
- the participation fee is 30 euros per person, 55 euros for two and for three people 80 euros
- Fee includes snorkeling equipment, informative material and a visit to the Whalewatching Center.
- Trips from Loano are carried out every day from the first of June and the following times are observed: 9.30am, 12.00am, 2.30pm, 5.00pm