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Madonna del Naufrago is a monumental sculpture that was immersed in 1979 near Isola dei Cavoli, at the southeastern tip of Sardinia. This local emblem is celebrated in July, when flower-covered boats sail along the coast of Villasimius to commemorate those who lost their lives at sea. Despite the important depth (the statue is submerged about 11m below sea level), snorkeling on this spot is a good experience, especially since the surrounding rocky areas are full of fish.

The buoy localizing Madonna del Naufrago
The snorkeling area seen from the boat. The sculpture is located under the orange buoy.

How to get to Madonna del Naufrago snorkeling spot?

The sculpture is located near Isola dei Cavoli, a small granite island off Capo Carbonara, in Villasimius. Almost all snorkeling tours in Villasimius, which can be booked directly at Villasimius Marina, include a stop at this location.

The standard half-day tour includes snorkeling stops at the Madonna del Naufrago, at Simius Beach to spot the triggerfish, and then at Punta Molentis, one of Sardinia’s most beautiful beaches. The 2 to 3 hours tour costs around 25 euros per person.

Madonna del Naufrago snorkeling map, Villasimius

Water entrance for snorkeling Madonna del Naufrago

You will enter the water from your boat, a few tens of meters from the sculpture.

Madonna del Naufrago snorkeling exploration tips

Once in the water, you will first enjoy the show offered by the thousands of saddled seabream gathering around the boats, in a crystal blue sea.

Hundreds of saddled seabream around boats at Madonna del Naufrago
Hundreds of saddled seabream gather in the mooring area.

Then start swimming towards the sculpture, indicated by an orange buoy, which your guide will show you. After swimming for a few tens of meters, you will see La Madonna on the seabed.

Madonna del Naufrago, over 3m in height, sits at a depth of 11 meters, at the foot of large granite boulders. If the sculpture can be seen from the surface, this significant depth does not allow enjoying it from the best angles.

Madonna del Naufrago underwater sculpture
Madonna del Naufrago underwater sculpture.

Immersed for more than 40 years, the Madonna del Naufrago is covered with small algae and attracts lots of small fish. At its foot, some Posidonia meadows have also grown.

After admiring the sculpture, we advise you to swim a little further towards the rocky islet. You will find a more reasonable depth (↕6-12ft/2-4m), allowing you to closely observe the sea life.

Seabream and ornate wrasse
A two-banded seabream (left) and an ornate wrasse (right) on a rock boulder near the island.

The seabed is made of huge granite boulders, which form a very cool underwater landscape. Around the boulders, sargo, two-banded seabream, ornate wrasse and schools of damselfish abound.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Some day boat trips include lunch. Inquire when you book.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaArea naturale marina protetta Capo Carbonara
  • Maximum depth35ft/11m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsBoat tour (half-day tour from 25 euros pp.)
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.