(Sede del Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, 21 July 2022)
Sport in nature, sustainability and contact with the sea without barriers on hot summer days: the swimming lanes of Riomaggiore and Vernazza are enriched with underwater panels in Braille. Dedicated to all explorers of the marine beauties of the Cinque Terre, the blue thematic paths have been designed to also accommodate users with motor or visual impairments.
Over the past few days, new tactile itineraries have been placed, designed to make the experience of using the swimming lanes, already greatly appreciated by visitors and residents, even more attractive and inclusive, above all.
The itineraries - created as part of the NEPTUNE project, which ended last March and aimed at enhancing the underwater natural and cultural heritage and the sustainable management of recreational diving - have 16 panels each with a cork backing; they are installed on the surface and on the seabed at a maximum depth of 10 metres to mark snorkelling and diving activities, with information on the main species of marine fauna and flora of our seabed.
Mediterranean rainbow wrasses, brown meagres, starfish, soft corals. Just a few "strokes" from the hamlets, you can enter a world full of wonders and biodiversity, ready to be explored with respect. The itineraries offer different recreational opportunities in the habitats protected by the Marine Area, tactile inspection for divers, improvement, and teaching of diving techniques for diving schools and, at last, visits from the surface and in apnoea through snorkelling activities.
In Riomaggiore, it starts from the eastern corner of the Fossola beach up to Lama Crexia, developing for about 105 metres
In Vernazza, it runs for about 345 metres from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare, starting from the beach.
To avoid damage, the swimming and diving paths are removed by the Cinque Terre Protected Marine Area technicians in the event of adverse weather conditions.
The NEPTUNE projet, PatrimoNio naturalE e culTUrale sommerso e gestione sosteNibile della subacquEa ricreativa (Underwater Natural and Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Management of Recreational Diving) – was co-financed by the Italy-France Cross-border Cooperation Program 2014-2020, to foster the sustainable development of recreational and professional diving activities, ensuring and developing the protection of marine and coastal underwater sites of high natural and cultural interest. The project objective was to apply common systems of sustainable management of the underwater heritage at cross-border level, raising awareness among managers and users of the natural and cultural value of the cross-border underwater heritage.
Project leader: Consorzio di Gestione dell'Area Marina Protetta di Portofino (Management Consortium of the Portofino Marine Protected Area)
Partners: Liguria Region, Sardinia Region, Tuscan Archipelago National Park, Parc national de Port-Cros, Région Sud Provence - Alpes - Côte d'Azur and Centre de Découverte du Monde Marin. The Cinque Terre Marine Protected Area is the implementing body of the Liguria Region.