Le Navi Aquarium in Cattolica

The so called “bull” shark – Le Navi Park, Cattolica (Rimini)

When looking at this “bull” shark, at Le Navi Aquarium in Cattolica last week, I could not but recall a poem I learned in high school by Thomas Grey (Elegy written on a country church-yard):

Full many a gem of purest ray serene the dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear.

Ok, I am not saying that the shark’s still and icy eyes reminded me of a “gem of purest ray serene”. And yet, neither the shark’s dreadful teeth nor its little reassuring global aspect struck me most. I was utterly hypnotized – instead – by its apparently inexpressive aquamarine eyes. I think that the closest thing to an aquamarine in nature I ever saw, was this shark’s eye.

Moray eel at the Le Navi Aquarium in Cattolica

I am not particularly fond of sharks and fish in general, if not served on a tray (best if covered with bread crumbs, garlick and parsely – ok, you vegetarians, please don’t hate me, I’m just kidding – actually, after visiting the aquarium, the last thing you want to do is eat a fish!), but our day at the Le Navi Aquarium in Cattolica last week was a dive into a magic aquatic world.

Jellyfish, penguins, otters, clown fish (picture the cartoon “Nemo”?), turtles, sharks, moray eels (see picture on the right) and, last but not least, my favourite one: the “violin” fish.

“Violin fish” at Le Navi Aquarium in Cattolica

Pathways with different colors (blue, yellow, green and purple) mark different thematic perspectives along over 100 pools. Among other things you can plunge into the shark’s pool on Sundays (EUR 100,00 for 10 minutes) and, if seeing so much fish around makes you hungry, you can stop at Pesce Azzurro” self-service in the inner park. It is run by a fishermen union from Fano (10 kms south from Pesaro, my home-town) and the fresh fish comes exclusively from our Adriatic coast. “Pesce azzurro” (literally “blue fish”) can be translated into mackerel, sardines and anchovies. It’s the unsophisticated fish of the “poor”, and yet so rich in “omega 3″ (the so-called good fat which helps heart and brain). Anyway, for just EUR 12,00 you get: 2 hors-d’oeuvres, 1 first course (“primo” in Italy), 2 choices of second course (“secondo”) with side dish, half a bottle of water, 1/4 of D.O.C wine (controlled denomination of wine) and bread.

Worth giving it a try, isn’t it?

Parco Le Navi Cattolica

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