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Gaiola Interdisciplinary Studies Center

In 2004 the Centro Studi Interdisciplinari Gaiola (C.S.I.) has been founded, as the natural spin-off of a scientific research project realized with the Department of Science for Environment of the Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”. During this project a specific territorial analysis on the Posillipo (Naples) ecological marine-coastal system was realized for the first time; the aim was to produce a clear reference frame in order to better manage and preserve natural and historical resources of the area. In fact the Posillipo coastline still maintains a great environmental and archaeological heritage in a beautiful coastal landscape and really close to the centre of the city of Naples.

The study, the safeguard and the development of this huge, forgotten heritage of the city of Naples are the main aims of the C.S.I. . The staff is composed by young experts in Marine Environmental Science, Natural Science, Archaeology and Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

The C.S.I. objectives are pursued combining research activities with scientific popularization activities, with a multidisciplinary approach. It has always been important to involve normal citizens in the activities of the Centre through exhibitions, conferences, workshop, guided tours, classes and courses with school and university students. A useful working relationship with the Manager Authority “Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei” of the Marine Protected Area “Gaiola Underwater Park has been established and in 2005  an agreement (prot. n. 38615 del 19/12/05) was signed in order to preserve the environmental and archaeological heritage of the Marine Protected Area (MPA). Thanks to this agreement starting from 2006 the C.S.I. has its operative headquarters  in the Research and Visitors Centre (CeRD) of the MPA so that the C.S.I. can assure a permanent protection of the MPA. In fact in the last five years it has been possible to upgrade one of the most beautiful area of the Neapolitan coastline which was abandoned for decades. Nowadays the CeRD is an important high standard quality reality for the city of Naples and in the general situation of the Italian MPAs. In 2007, the association obtained the Italian qualification as “Onlus” (No-profit Organization of Social Utility) according to the Italian law D.Lgs 460/97.

The C.S.I. Gaiola collaborates with other Associations, Organizations and Research Institutes involved in the preservation of the marine-coastal resources and since 2006 it has an agreement with the Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II” (Prot. 22725 del 24/02/06) and “Parthenope” (Prot. 380 del 21/03/06) in order to participate to formative and research activities.

Since 2005 several studies have been carried out in the environmental and geo-archaeological fields to improve the knowledge on the marine-coastal environment of the Mediterranean area and in particular of the MPA ”Gaiola Underwater Park”.

Research activities

To pursue its objectives the C.S.I. is involved in several research activities on the Gulf of Naples and in particular on the MPA Gaiola Underwater Park. On the following lines there is the list of the research projects:

  • Monitoring and preservation of the marine biocenosis of the MPA Gaiola Underwater Park: On the basis of the knowledge acquired with the first surveys on the ecological marine system on the Posillipo coastline, the C.S.I. is involved since 2004 in the biological monitoring of the principal biological communities characterizing the seabed of the MPA.

  • Geo-archaeological analysis: The C.S.I. is concentrated on a research project based on the detailed survey of the underwater archaeological features and on volcanological and geo-morphological analysis of the coastline. 

  • Phyto-sociological analysis: This study concerned the botanic component of the tuff coastline of the MPA.

  • Coastal Artificial Cavities survey: Because of the geomorphological studies carried out along the Posillipo coastline, the C.S.I.  is involved on the survey of the numerous existing caves and cavities.

  • Cormorant Project: Since 2005 the C.S.I. is involved in a specific study on Phalacrocorax carbo population.

  • IS (Geographic Information System): All the data acquired during the different research studies have been integrated creating a GIS (Geographic Information System) map


Scientific Popularization


Guided tours are the best way to know and then preserve our environment. Guided tours are organized in the MPA Gaiola Underwater Park and in the Pausilypon Archaeological Park (an archaeological area historically connected to the MPA Gaiola). Here are listed the different itineraries:

  • Itineraries by the glass-bottom boat: From Marechiaro to Trentaremi: guided tours by the sea in the MPA by the glass-bottom boat.

  • Snorkeling Itineraries: Sea-watching itineraries of different difficulty and time between archaeological underwater structures and flourishing underwater life.

  • Diving Itineraries: This itinerary is dedicated to those have first level diving license at least. Diving tours can be chosen between biological itineraries (Cavallara Shore max depth -25m), and bio-archaeological itineraries (starting from Gaiola shore max depth -16m)

  • Itineraries in The Pausilypon Archaeological Park: Entering from a 700 meters long Roman Gallery to visit the remains of a I century B.C. seaside Roman villa belonging to the rich knight Publio Vedio Pollio.

  • Integrated Itineraries: This itinerary combines the tour to the Pausilypon Archaeological Park with the glass-bottom boat or snorkeling tour.


The philosophy of the C.S.I. is to combine the research activity with scientific popularization of the data. In fact, if the research is aimed to the preservation of the historical/archaeological and environmental heritage, it is really important to carry out at the same time awareness campaign with adults citizens and with children and young people. At the same time it is really important to know well the territory and all its problematic to be able to make awareness campaigns.

SCHOOL PROJECT: “Neaples Seas”

Since 2006 the C.S.I. realizes an environmental/cultural education project called “I Mari di Napoli ” (Neaples Seas) with school students. The aim is to teach the new generations to discover and respect the marine environment.


UNIVERSITY PROJECT: “Training for the marine sciences”

Thanks to the great geological, environmental and archaeological variety of the MPA seabed and coastline, this Park is the perfect training area for those who are interested in studying marine environment. For this reason the C.S.I. realized the project “Una palestra per le scienze del mare”  (Training for the marine sciences), to let university students the chance to make internships, stages and practical experiences.


The C.S.I. organizes also courses for a generic public interested in the knowledge and preservation of environment.

  • Bird-watching course in the MPA "Gaiola Underwater Park": The main techniques and methodologies to observe and recognize the birds along the coastline of the MPA have been taught.

  • Sea-watching course in the MPA "Gaiola Underwater Park": First sea-watching course in Campania, it gave the opportunity to observe the seabed to discover history, bio-diversity hidden under water at few meters of depth.

  • Eco-diving course in the MPA “Gaiola Underwater Park”: Courses organized to give the I level “Open Water” PADI diving license and at the same time to teach scuba-divers to be respectful of the marine environment.

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