Umbria: From Wreck to Reef

Umbria: From Wreck to Reef investigates how an Italian man-of-war called the “Umbria” sank and became a natural habitat for countless underwater species.

With a full cargo of silver coins, military trucks, motorcycles, 360.000 bombs and tons of ammunition, the Umbria sank on a lone morning, June 10, 1940.

It wasn’t until 1949 the vessel was rediscovered and some of the cargo was once again salvaged. Unable to salvage the entire ship however, the Umbria stayed at the bottom of the sea.

Here it would cultivate and create a natural sanctuary for corals and marine life.

Discoverer and underwater pioneer Hans Hass documented this natural beginning growth of corals surrounding the ship in 1949.

Since then he returned to film the natural metamorphosis from ship wreck to reef after 30 years.

Continuing this natural saga, Erich Proell, another underwater filmmaker, visited the wreck again in 2009.

These six decades after the Umbria sank, we’ll witness how the reef has almost completely taken hold of the Umbria.

Marine creatures slip through the old ship cracks almost unnoticed and the once illuminated cabins hold only darkness, colorful sponges and other bizarre marine life.

Although some of these rooms still hold old dangerous World War 2 bombs and other war materials, filmmaker Erich Proell ventures on while showcasing a new underwater sanctuary.

Umbria: From Wreck to Reef
  • Info
  • Release date2009
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Sabine Holzerl, Erich Pröll
  • Part of the seriesThe Secrets of Nature
  • Production companyIndigenius