Italian culture and history: Visiting Italy's Aquariums
- WTI Magazine #138 Apr 17, 2021
Italy offers first-class attractions for sea-lovers who can make spectacular journeys through the shapes and colors of the Mediterranean, tropical and exotic habitats reproduced to the smallest detail in Italian aquariums in order to discover everything there is to know about the underwater world.
The Aquarium of Genoa in Liguria was designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano for Expo ’92 and with its ten thousand square metres and 71 tanks is the largest aquarium in Italy attracting around one million and two hundred thousand visitors a year. More than 500 species of fish and the habitats of the Mediterranean, the Oceans, the Poles and the Tropics are reproduced inside, while an exhibition itinerary allows children and adults to observe and study the habits of fish, sharks, molluscs, jellyfish and dolphins, not to mention crocodiles, frogs, snakes, penguins and seals.
The Town marine aquarium in Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, offers visitors two theme areas: the “Acquario” (Aquarium) where the major marine environments of the northern Adriatic and the Mediterranean Sea are on display, and the “Vivarium” where amphibians and reptiles can be observed closely.
The Aquarium of Livorno in Tuscany offers a journey through nature, science and art. One thousand seven hundred animals from more than three hundred different species, a tunnel and a touch pool ensure a unique tour of the largest aquarium in the region. Thematic areas dedicated to Mediterranean and tropical habitats, an exhibition area and a rooftop terrace with a magnificent view over the Tuscan coast and the islands of Tuscany’s Archipelago are the main attractions.
The incredible Aquarium of Cattolica in Emilia-Romagna is the largest in the Adriatic and houses over 400 different species of animals in 2,500,000 litres of seawater, which can be observed through four covered walkways allowing you to visit the aquarium even in bad weather. Coming face to face with a shark, being amazed by caimans or having fun with otters constitute incredibly unique and emotional experiences offered to visitors by this aquarium.
The oldest aquarium in Italy: the Zoological Station created by Anton Dohrn in 1872 is located in Campania and more precisely in Naples and its twenty-three basins in volcanic rock are home to over two hundred species of fish from the Gulf of Naples. It is also a care centre for some specimens of Caretta Caretta turtles which here receive the necessary assistance before being reintroduced into their natural habitat.
In the beautiful surroundings of the island of Ortigia, the Tropical Aquarium of Syracuse, in Sicily accommodates fish, tropical plants and invertebrates in tanks that mimic their natural Mediterranean, South American and African environments of origin.
Finally, the Aquarium of Alghero, in Sardinia, is the only one in Italy to host one of the most venomous fish in the world: the stone fish. Here six hundred and fifty square metres offer an extraordinary natural show, animated by octopus, sharks, piranhas, seahorses and other exotic, Mediterranean or fresh water species together with a rehabilitation centre for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta Caretta).