TALAMONE, Italy — As the Sirena brought its passengers back to port, Paolo Fanciulli paused from spreading his nets and sustainable fishing gospel to point at an empty spot of sea.
“There, below the lighthouse,” said Mr. Fanciulli, clad in his rib-high yellow waders. “The sculptures are there.”
About 25 feet below the rippling surface of this rocky promontory on the southern Tuscan coast, schools of fish visited a museum of four marble blocks, mined from Michelangelo’s preferred quarry and sculpted by acclaimed artists.
Farther north, another 20 Carrara marble sculptures had a different job — as submerged sentries against the illegal bottom trawling that has depleted Talamone’s marine life.
And in a field down the road, where kite surfers skim the bay, 18 more sculpted marble blocks sat like ruins on the grass waiting for Mr. Fanciulli to find the money to lower them into the water.
“Think, in 100, 200 years they’ll find all these sculptures,” said Mr. Fanciulli, called Paolo the Fisherman by everyone around here, including himself.
His “House of Fish” project is part environmental activism, part arts initiative, part marketing campaign, part bid for a lasting legacy.
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