The Italian Navy shipwrecks as the witnesses of Vlora Bay strategic position


  • Artur Mecollari


Naval history, shipwrecks, Bay of Vlora, naval strategy, sea control


Bay of Vlora, a bay of 315 sq. km, is the resting area of 806 Italian sailors and soldiers.  It is also the resting area of nine Italian warships which sank in WWI and WWII.  It is the location of the only island of Albania, Sazan Island.  As one of the most strategic locations, Vlora Bay and Sazan Island in the last 170 year have been under the control of different naval powers, mainly by Italy.  Italy started to have a strategic interest in the Bay of Vlora after its unification in the mid-19th Century due to its ambition as a regional naval power. The underwater Italian fleet in Vlora Bay and surrounding area shows its importance to the Italian maritime strategy, during and between two world wars and later.

More than 100 years ago, US Admiral Alfred T. Mahan wrote “the Sea line of communication determines the war at sea”. The geography isimportantto the sea lines of communication, especially chokepoints and safe bays,which are of constant importance throughout history. Otranto Channel is a very important chokepoint which controls the “Adriatic Highway”, Adriatic sea line of communication used by coastal states up to Central and Northern European Countries. 

Bay of Vlora geographically represents a big bay and all year one.  Its importance is empowered by the fact that it’s located next to Otranto Channel and capable of safely hosting and rapidly deploying large naval forces up to the Central Mediterranean and points beyond.  This paper, through historical perspective and underwater cultural heritage, aims to prove the importance of Vlora Bay and surrounding maritime area to the Italian Naval Strategy in two world wars periods and beyond.




How to Cite

Mecollari, A. (2023). The Italian Navy shipwrecks as the witnesses of Vlora Bay strategic position. Interdisciplinary Journal of Research and Development, 9(2). Retrieved from