In 1987, given the importance and complexity of the correct recovery and conservation procedures for underwater archaeological finds, an Underwater Archaeological Operations Unit was set up within the Italian Central Institute for Restoration. This Unit is made up of archaeologists, conservators, biologists and chemists, all of whom are underwater experts. It provides consultancy services and scientific and technical assistance for problems relating to the recovery, conservation, protection, and restoration of underwater archaeological heritage at the request of the Archaeological Superintendents. Great attention is paid to the professional training of underwater conservators. Specialized courses in the conservation of materials of underwater provenance are organized as part of its programme. This paper illustrates some of the main initiatives both in the restoration of archaeological objects and in training, in which the Institute has been involved, since the Underwater Unit was created.