At the Aquarium of Cattolica, face to face with sharks
If you are looking for a reason to visit the Aquarium of Cattolica, here are several.
It is the largest aquarium on the Adriatic coast and the second largest in Italy. Its 2.5 million litres of water are home to thousands of animals of hundreds of different species, including sharks, penguins, caimans, otters, reptiles and amphibians.
The aquarium is housed in a building with stunning architecture, inspired by futurism, built in 1933 as a summer camp for the children of Italians living abroad. If we have talked you into it, allow us to show you inside!
Creatures from all the world’s oceans
The Aquarium of Cattolica lets you wander around all the world’s oceans and be captivated by their most fantastic creatures. The most impressive pool is the one where the bull sharks and nurse sharks swim, but the prize for the cutest goes to the Humboldt penguins. The jellyfish tanks are awe-inspiring, while you can even stroke stingrays, because their poisonous barb is periodically removed.
There are also three small otters, a dwarf caiman, snakes, amphibians, chameleons, iguanas and lizards. The deep ocean fauna is the subject of an exhibition illustrating the adaptability of creatures who live in the absence of light and under extreme pressure, many of which are still unknown.
Behind the scenes at the aquarium...
The Aquarium of Cattolica offers the extraordinary opportunity to get to know the animals more closely. You can watch sharks, penguins, otters and stingrays eat, accompanied by an expert, who can answer all your questions.
You can also book a session to learn about the work of the aquarium staff, from the curators to the trainers, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the complex aquarium structure, where not only fish, but also reptiles, amphibians and mammals live and breed.
You can also book a session to get an in-depth look at the coral reef face-to-face with a diver immersed in a tank, who answers questions from the audience. The most exciting experience for children is the night with the sharks, which allows you to fall asleep and wake up right in front of their tank.
The aquarium in a neo-futurist building
The Aquarium of Cattolica was built thanks to the restoration of the “XXVIII Ottobre” marine colony building in Cattolica, which is now called Le Navi. Designed in 1933-34 by Rome-born architect Clemente Busiri Vici, it takes neo-futurist inspiration from the world of ships, planes and submarines.
After hosting several thousand children every summer for a decade, the colony was turned into a military hospital during the war. It survived unscathed, but was not spared from the profiteering of the 1960s, when half of it was demolished to make room for hotels and flats. The restoration work was completed in 2000 with the opening of the aquarium and the creation of the surrounding park, giving the building a future.