Villasimius in Sardinia is a shining example of how conserving the natural beauty of an area is the best economic driver for tourism.
Fifteen years since the introduction of the Marine Protected Areas of Capo Carbonara,Villasimius has become one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the southern part of the island.
As well as conserving the natural heritage, the Protected Marine Area has helped foster and has optimised sustainable development in the region, creating an ecological awareness amongst the local population as well as with holiday-makers visiting Villasimius.
In the area stretching from Capo Boi to the coast, in front of the Serpentara Island, live a wide variety of animal species including over 136 plant species.
Every species of fish in the whole Mediterranean seems to congregate in Capo Carbonara; here you will spot large fish such as amberjacks and leer fish, schools of barracuda, dolphins, and a little less frequently, marine turtles and monk seals.
A real paradise for snorkelling and diving aficionados who will love swimming amongst schools of coloured fish and exploring the sea beds peppered with the wrecks of numerous ancient roman galleys.
It is no coincidence, that from the shallow waters in Santa Caterina, the Shipwreck Madonna greets visitors to underwater landscapes only ten meters deep.
These depths, dangerous to ships from any era, are magical in morphological terms, with their granite spire-formed rocks rising from the seabed. Hollows, crevices and bulwarks, covered in sea daisies and gorgonia, create a scenario unique in the whole world.