Italy: Submerged Machines of Moregallo

Moregallo is one of the most beautiful and well-known sites on Lake Como, located in the Italian province of Lecco, within walking distance of the community of Valmadrera. Surrounded by the majestic Italian Alps, this mountainous region is often used by athletes to boost their abilities at high altitude, and tourists come here to enjoy hiking, biking and of course, scuba diving, as well as the great cuisine of the fine restaurants that can be found here.

Submerged car wreck, Moregallo, Italy. Photo by Marco Daturi.

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Marco Daturi, who emerged from the warm waters of a nursery in 1972—a restriction prescribed by an inclement, authoritarian doctor—was always very close to the sea and the underwater world, which he continues to explore with a passion whenever he can.

Having survived the attack of a Ligurian porter crab, the false attentions of Indonesian nudibranchs, an underwater wedding, and insistent invitations to get into technical diving, Daturi continues to enjoy the passion that is diving, which culminated in 2003 with the creation of

A certified divemaster, Daturi also holds a doctorate in economics, and two masters in marketing and sports management.

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Moregallo, however, is also the location of one of those dive sites that is unfortunately often mentioned in unpleasant news stories. Recently, some dive accidents have captured the attention of the media. Just google “Moregallo sub” to see some of the news headlines, which are, to say the least, disturbing. It is often the case that the headline makes waves, but some journalists unfortunately don’t elicit an effective impact on the public, often at the expense of the facts of the case and respect for the people involved.

Mysterious machines

I went back a couple of times to the site, accompanied by a very knowledgeable friend of mine, so we could dive the mysterious machines of Moregallo—the submerged car wrecks. We had already done a lot of diving at this location. The convenient access and the peculiarity of the car wrecks underwater make it more special and interesting to dive.

The lake bottom is littered with car wrecks, more or less preserved. Dozens of cars were thrown into the lake by thieves and robbers. The dumped cars now lie between 15 and 60m deep, to the delight of thousands of divers who have found in these weird wrecks, something special to explore. Dives here can be performed by both new divers making their first dives with an experienced guide, to technical divers using technical gear configurations at depth.


The surrounding landscape is always exciting. The lake reflects nearly tropical colors, and despite the little sun that reaches the seabed below the banks of the lake, it is the emerald green of the water that invites you to dive.

The clouds above provided a theatrical atmosphere and a bit of breeze helped me cope with the heat and warmth of wearing 200g undergarments.

All was quiet at 8:00 a.m. as we prepared for the dive, and we took all the time we needed to bring heavier equipment closer to our entry point at the water’s edge.

We entered the water close to the wall at the lake’s edge, so that we could follow it on the way down. A car wreck was right under our feet, at just 30m. From here, we decided to continue to descend to see the other car wrecks. Visibility was fair, not the best ever, but it allowed us to see and photograph what we wanted to, without too much trouble.

After a few minutes, my manometer alerted us, so we ascended to 20m. Then we used an underwater scooter to drag us to the wreck of a jeep resting on the lake bottom at around 15m. Here, we saw some fish. But at this depth, I could not see anything, so I calmly approached the location where we would exit the dive and visited the memorials friends of the deceased had placed.

The Moregallo machines make a nice dive for all who come here. The site attracts hundreds of divers, especially during the weekends, who are looking for a different underwater experience in a picturesque setting—a place that is also much loved by many celebrities and well-known personalities throughout history, including Alessandro Manzoni, Napoleon, Giuseppe Verdi, Leonardo da Vinci and many others. ■

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