La Soprintendenza del Mare
The first Superintendency of the Italian Sea was created in Sicily, a peripheral body of the Department of Cultural Heritage and of the Sicilian Identity, whose task is to introduce the culture of the sea in Sicily through research, survey, conservation, supervision, valuation and use of the underwater archeological patrimony, historical, naturalistic and Folkloric and anthropological heritage of the Sicilian Seas and its islands.
It is the result of a journey born in 1999 with the formation of a group for underwater archeological research: the G.I.A.S.S.( Group of Archeology Underwater in Sicily) subsequently S.C.R.A.S. ( Coordination Service of Research of Underwater Archeology). Through the centuries, what has characterised the relationship between man and the sea is the area where the superintendency works, since its birth, it has been engaged in themes from archeology to history, to marine traditions through the study of the enormous patrimony of assets that come from our sea-bed and events connected to these.
The operational activity is guaranteed by instrumental technical equipment but , above all , by the constant collaboration with the orders of the law( Financial Police, Carabinieri, State Police, Coast Guard and Port Authorities).
Many protocols have been endorsed over the last few years for study activities, digging and excavations, which have allowed a close working relationship with the University of Stanford and Pennsylvania, the RPM Nautical Foundation, the American Aurora Foundation Trust, but also with other public and private entities with which multimedia and museum-like exhibitions, cultural events, scientific conventions and publications have been produced.
It is partner with various excavation campaigns in Italy and abroad for example Libya, Japan, and Turkey.
Other initiatives of the Superintendency of the Sea include awareness campaigns directed at schools, aiming to promote and reconstruct a “bond” between the sea and students to enrich the knowledge of all the resources linked to it. With the objective to make the children “acquaintances and conscious” of the rich and diverse underwater cultural heritage because only full knowledge can bring respect and therefore its preservation.
Its headquarters, from 2004, are at Palazzo Mirto, in the historical centre of Palermo, while the premises of the ex Roosevelt Institute , at Addaura, continue to be the location for the technical laboratories, from 2013, moreover, a third venue has been added , the Arsenal of the Marina in via dell’Arsenale.
The institution of the Superintendency of the Sea, wished for by the Archeologist Prof. Sebastiano Tusa, is the intent that the Region of Sicily has been carrying out for years, with specific policies aimed at the preservation of underwater archeological resources, inspired by Greece, the only other example, to have a comparable structure. The innovation of a multidiscipline approach with which the Superintendency of the Sea presents, puts it in first place on the world stage.