By Erica Firpo
June 27, 2014

Over the next 18 months, lighthouses around the Mediterranean are going to get a makeover. The multi-country Mediterranean Lighthouse Project, known as MED-PHARES, intends to restore nine historic lighthouses, lanterns and watchtowers in Italy, Tunisia, Lebanon and France, with the hope of reaching out to more throughout the Mediterranean.

The idea is simple: Lighthouses have been a navigational aid for centuries, but innovations in technology pushed them by the wayside in the late twentieth century. By focusing on overhauling the abandoned stations, MED-PHARES aims to encourage a return to an invaluable navigation system and augment local coastal heritage by stimulating tourism in less visited areas.

The first sites involved include three in Sardinia (Cagliari and on the islands of Sant'Antioco and Asinara), which comes as no wonder since the program is helmed by the famed Italian island, as one of European Community’s 13 cross-border cooperation programs— European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).

“This multilateral initiative funded by the European Union aims to promote cooperation among countries of the Mediterranean area on topics such as economic development, environmental sustainability, cultural dialogue and local governance”, said Martin Heibel, MED-PHARES Joint Managing authority.

MED-PHARES also intends on publishing a catalog via database and Google that details more than 850 lighthouses and stations throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Rome-based Erica Firpo is a contributor to