The Conero peninsula is located at the south edge of Ancona which is one of the larger coastal cities in the region, with Pescara to the south and Ravenna, the former Roman capital of Italy, to the north. Ancona is located east of the foothills of the Apennine mountains which are the tallest range in central Italy. The position of Ancona has provided it with an ideal position to be a center of water-borne travel and commerce between Italy, Croatia, and Greece. Ancona is the key ferry port in central Italy and includes these destinations on its daily schedule.
The shoreline south of Ancona is characterized by relatively deep, clear, and quite cold water bordered by rocky beaches below the Conero bluffs to the west and north. These beaches are the primary non-sand covered coastline on the Adriatic. During the height of the summer season in late July and throughout August the crowds can be insufferable as well as the heat and humidity. Due to the clarity of the water, the peninsula is a favorite summer haunt of both Italians and Germans who visit in droves. The height of the bluffs and the relatively short lateral extent of the beach area isolate it from any western or northerly breezes which might pick up.
For divers, the Conero Peninsula offers good shore diving, quite good reef diving, and some excellent wreck diving. Due to the round, smooth nature of the rocks on the beach, it is easily possible to do excellent walk-in diving. For the wreck-diving, it is advisable to use one of the local dive clubs facilities to ensure a safe and enjoyable dive. These clubs will have small boats suitable for going out the 1-2 km to the wreck sites off the peninsula.
The water temperatures are quite cool, even in August and September, so it is advisable to use a minimum of a 7mm wetsuit with hood, or a drysuit. The water clarity is normally excellent in this area unless heavy rains have been experienced within the past week. Because of the fact that this area is a watershed for the Apennines, the water will be cloudy after heavy rainfall. Just be wary of weather conditions, or check with local dive shops prior to your visit Monte Conero Centro Sub. Among the sights to see while diving are the wreck of the cargo vessel Photos which sank in 1962 near two rock pinnacles called The Two Sisters (Le Due Sorrele) off the coast of Ancona. The vessel is extensively broken up, but it is possible to access the command center, and to investigate the ship's boilers. Marine growth on the wreck is very heavy due to the mild currents and consistently cold water which bathe the wreck with nutrients...red Georgian fans are very much in evidence, as well as numerous hard corals. The wreck is a frequent target of divers, but due to the hand's-off policies which area divers follow the marine growth remains in fairly good shape.
The reefs in the Ancona area are quite healthy, and due to their relatively shallow depth dives during the day are usually quite colorful. When the water clarity is good, daytime photography can be decent. It is recommended, however, that photography only be attempted using a strobe with side-extension.
Night diving is quite popular in the area due to the close proximity of the dive sites to downtown Ancona. Friday and Saturday night diving is especially popular, with divers meeting at one of the local dive centers (link above) about one hour prior to departure.
But the exceptional wreck diving which is available as well as the excellent restaurants and hotels in the area can contribute greatly to your experience here. The proximity of several charming hotels to the beach means that you are never far from a cold and invigorating dip. And it limits the hike to get to the water for your diving.
How to Get There
Ancona is easy to get to...from north or south simply follow the autostrada into Ancona. To arrive at the Ancona port, use the exit marked Ancona Centro. To arrive at the Conero beaches, look for the exit which notes Monte Conero..