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  • Christ of the Abyss (Il Cristo degli Abissi)

    By Anthony Parente

    Christ of the Abyss San Fruttuoso Italy
    Photo from Christ Of The Abyss
    With his head and hands raised to the sky, the Christ of the Abyss is the world's first underwater statue dedicated to divers and those who were lost at sea. The bronze statue is located in the Mediterranean Sea in San Fruttuoso between Camogli and Portofino on the Ligurian Riviera. There are a number of underwater statues with this name. The most noted is the one located in Key Largo, FL.

    Following the death of Dario Gonzatti in 1947, who was the first Italian to wear scuba gear, fellow diver Duilio Marcante wanted to honor his friend and envisioned creating an underwater shrine. Sculptor Guido Galletti was commissioned and created a 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) bronze statue of Jesus Christ who is looking to the heavens asking for God's blessing and protection. The statue itself weighs 260 kg's (573 pounds) and to keep it anchored during storms it is attached to a concrete base. On August 22, 1954, the Christ of the Abyss was placed on the seabed 17 meters (55.78 feet) deep off the harbor. The statue has since been restored to preserve it from corrosion and to replace the hand that apparently was detached by a boats anchor.

    Over the years, the Christ of the Abyss has become a popular tourist attraction. The area is located in a nature reserve and it is not easily reached by car or public transportation. They do have many hiking trails that are marked and maintained for those who enjoy nature's beauty. San Fruttuoso has a number of diving centers you can utilize so you can visit the underwater shrine. You can take a boat ride over the area but there is no guarantee you will be able to see the statue. On the last Saturday of July the town has a blessing of the sea and lights candles along the bay.

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