The underwater park of Gaiola is a 42-hectares protected marine area surrounding the Gaiola Islands, in the Gulf of Naples; it has been established jointly by the Ministers of Environment and Cultural Heritage in 2002.
The area is located at a short distance from the city center of Naples, in the Posillipo district.
Its peculiarity lies in the fusion of volcanological, archaeological and biological elements. On the park's seabeds, in fact, it is possible to observe the wrecks of ports, nymphaeums and fishponds currently submerged because of the slow sinking of the earth's crust.
Most of this area was once included in the Imperial Villa of Pausilypon, which belonged to the Roman freedman Publio Vedio Pollione and now is part of the Archaeological Park of Posillipo.
The submerged park of Gaiola also has considerable biological importance: in these waters there are numerous marine biological communities, typical of the Mediterranean.
The Marine Protected Area can be visited through guided tours with underwater-viewing boats and snorkeling itineraries are available, too.
In the Park's Research and Scientific Dissemination Center, in addition to the organization of visits, didactic-educational activities for schools and training activities are carried out.