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Montepulcanio, Tuscany, Italy

La Casa Dei Pesci (The Fish House)

Paolo Fanciulli, a passionate fisherman from Maremma started a campaign ‘La Casa dei Pesci’ again the illegal act of trawling the seafloor with heavy nets, devastating the benthic flora and fauna that exists down below. Especially the seagrass meadows which works at a natural barrier against erosion and is home to a unique ecosystem which teems with a myriad of young fish.

As a fisherman who grew up in the area, this is something that is glaringly close to Paolo’s heart, resulting in a thirty year battle he has personally undertaken to save Tuscany’s coastline and its unique biodiversity. He has worked with organizations such as Greenpeace to combat fisherman from illegally harming the coastline, but the practice continued.

Being the creative sort, he had the brilliant idea to first block those doing the illegal trawling by installing cement blocks to rupture the nets since 2013. The brilliant idea was then born to replace the cement with statues from marble blocks donated by Presidente delle Cave Michelangelo di Carrara, Franco Barattini, carved by artists such as Massimo Catalani and Giorgio Butini that would, in turn, create an incredible underwater art museum and stop the nets.

Artists from all over the world have participated in this project after hearing about Paolo’s cause—24 have already been completed and they now lie in their “new home” on the seabed. The goal is to add another 20 more by Spring of 2018 with the help of crowdfunding.

In the future, the aim is more ambitious: to create a real submarine sculpture museum underwater along the Maremma coast with a ground floor above that can showcase the underwater art in all of its glory.

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