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How To Go To The Beach in Italy

grande spiagga positano

All in a row. Umbrellas and beach chairs in Positano

Recently, Tour Italy Now shared some of the best beaches in Italy. Now, here are our top tips on how to go to the beach in Italy.

You might be thinking to yourself, really? Instructions on how to go to the beach? I know how to do that. Spending the day at the beach in Italy might be little bit different than what you may be used to.

As soon as the weather starts to warm up, Italians head to the seaside. As summer progresses, the miles and miles of coastline all along the country fills up with vacationers and visitors. Weekends are the busiest. Most of the beaches in Italy are divided up into private beach clubs called stabilimenti balneari. They work like this; you pay an entrance fee and have access to a whole range of facilities and activities. The whole affair is truly very civilized.

Each of the different stabilimenti has a range of facilities ranging in levels from simple to luxurious. You can usually count on parking, changing rooms, bathrooms and showers, a lifeguard, a bar for coffee, snacks and light meals and a full service restaurant. Some clubs have children’s activities and playgrounds, pools and and things like paddle boats and kayaks for rent.

Get in Line. One of the first things you will notice are the rows and rows of umbrellas and chairs filling almost the entire beach. You can rent a chair and umbrella for the day. Expect to pay between €11 to €40 depending on the resort. You may have a choice of type of chairs between a sdraio for a low slung beach chair lettino for a full sized beach lounger.

The early bird gets the good view. Get there early. In many seaside towns, many families have been returning to the same seaside town, to the same stabilimento even to the same set of chairs, year after year after year. If you want a prime spot near the water you need to get to the beach early, by about 9:00am or you can call ahead and ask for prima fila, the first row.

What time is it? Even on when on vacation, Italians stick to a schedule.  With the morning spent tanning and reading and then moving on to lunch between 1:00-2:00.  You can have a full meal at the clubs sit down restaurant or have a sandwich or salad from the bar.  You may see families with small picnics with sandwiches brought from home.

Don’t go in the water. You will probably have the sea to your self in the hours right after lunch as Italians prefer to digest on land. Small children will often be brought back home for an afternoon nap, returning later in the afternoon. The hours after lunch are spent napping, lounging and card playing.

Bring your sunscreen. The main beach activity in Italy is taking in the rays.  It is a badge of honor to return home from a holiday with a deep, dark tan and be greeted with the words buona abbronzata (great tan.) If your skin is more Celtic than Mediterranean, make sure you pack your high SPF sunscreen and a big hat.

Less is more. Ladies, pack a bikini. No matter the shape, from teenagers to nonna, you will be hard pressed to find anyone in a one piece bathing suit. For men, Speedos are not required. You will see both the skimpy European style and surfers baggies being sported.

After Dark. Once the sun sets, the crowds clear and some stabilimenti even close. There are some places that serve sunset aperitvo. These are usually the chicer spots with lots of white cushions and glamorous people sipping cold glasses of prosecco or mojitos. After dinner and late into the night a number of the beach clubs are transformed into dance clubs with music and dancing.

There are free beaches to be found all up and down the coast. Some even with bathrooms and chairs and umbrellas to rent. If wild, sandy spaces are what you are searching for head to Sardinia or the Maremma coast in Tuscany.

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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