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Beach etiquette Italy

Do’s and don’ts on the Italy’s beaches

It’s summer and it’s time to go to the beach.

Italy is dotted with enchanting beach towns and marvellous beach destinations, some with sand and some others with rocks, some wild and unspoilt and some others very crowded.

In this week I will talk about the best Italian beaches you don’t have to miss in your summer holiday in Italy. On the blog you can already read a list of Italy’s 10 most beautiful beaches.

If you are thinking to spend a day or a week on any Italy’s beach, you need to be aware of what are the beach’s do’s and don’ts, which is the beach etiquette in Italy, which are the Italian habits on the beach and some other useful information. Live like a local also on the beaches in Italy is easy. You just need to follow my first 5 tips of the beach etiquette in Italy.

Ready to start?

1. Types of beach

Italy coastline lenght is less than 7,500 km, but as Italy’s land is younger than other lands in Europe, you can find different types of territories not far from each other.

Along the Adriatic coast – the sea on the Italian eastern side – you find mostly sand beaches. Adriatic sea is quite close and its streams are not so impetuous, therefore the Adriatic coast is rather linear and plain except two points: Riviera del Conero (Le Marche region) and Gargano (Puglia region).

On the other side there is the Thyrrenian sea, that is more open than the Adriatic one and connects with the Mediterranean sea. In fact from north to south many beaches are rocky or the rocks protect wild coves. An example of this type of scenery is San Fruttuoso in Liguria. The beach becomes wider and sandy in Tuscany and Lazio regions, but then again rocky in Campania and Calabria regions.

So choose the beach that suits the best with your needs!

2. Times and days

The best moment of the day to enjoy any beach? Early in the morning! Not too much hot, few people lying on the beach, low tide. I mean from 7.30am to 9am. This is the time for families with very little children or elder people, because the sunrays are not too much strong. After this time the beach starts to be crowded, but it depends obviously on the beach you choose.

If you like to enjoy the silence and the peace on the beach, you have to know that generally you find families (and their children!) from 9am until 12-12.30pm and from 4.30-5pm until 7pm.

The best months to enjoy Italy’s beaches are May and September because there are really few people. The best days of the week are from Monday to Friday, because the workweek in Italy goes from Monday to Friday or Saturday. So that many people are working. In southern Italy it is really common to go to the beach after they have finished working.

Beach etiquette in Italy: private beach
This is the risk of choosing a private beach instead of the public one.

3. Free and private beaches

Italian beaches are divided in public beaches and private beaches.

Public beaches are for free. You can bring with you beach umbrellas, beach chairs and whatever you want putting them wherever you prefer. People tend to get a bit away from each others. So please respect the spaces. You do not necessarily find showers on free beaches. Remember this when you will plan your day on the beach.

Private beaches are on payment. The price includes a beach umbrella with 2 beach loungers or 1 lounger and 1 chair and the services of the beach establishments, like the cleaning of the beach or the use of playing fields. The cost amount depends on the town where the establishment is located, the target of the private beach, the available services and the month (June and September are the cheapest ones!).

The most important difference between public and private beaches is the space. On a private beach, beach umbrellas are often positioned very close to each others without the possibility to enjoy your privacy. The opposite situation happens on public beaches, where you can stay wherever you like.

Beaches and coasts are properties of the Italian government. Some stretches of beach are managed by private people, but remember… the foreshore is always free! You can reach it crossing the beach establishment too but you cannot leave your things, like beach umbrellas or beach towels, there for a long time.

4. Eat and drink

Do you choose public beaches? Bring with you a bottle of fresh water! The water of the showers is not always drinkable. Moreover you are not sure to find a shower there. Get information before to go about what you can find on the beach or near it. In popular beach towns you could find bars on publich beaches or you can purchase your food and drinks at the bar of the nearest beach establishment.

Don’t be surprized about Italians bringing food and drinks to the beach. We are used to do it, especially if we stay all the day long. In southern Italy it’s a very common habit to bring all sort of food and drink much more than a northern person could bring.

Beach etiquette in Italy: dogs are not allowed
Dogs are not allowed on all Italy’s beaches except those equipped for them.

5. Behaviour

Last but not least, how to behave on an Italian beach?

First of all, keep quiet! People lying in the sun are looking for silence and relax, so don’t shout and talk at a reasonable volume. Remember to lower the volume of your devices. This is the first things to know about the beach etiquette in Italy.

On public beaches you can play any game (beachvolley, beach tennis…) but please far from other people. Actually the coast guard doesn’t allow to play on the beach. Avoid to play along the foreshore, because Italians use to walk along it and you can hit or annoy somebody. On private beaches generally there are playing fields that you can reserve for an hour or more. They can be for free or on payment.

Remember to gather all the garbage and throw it away in the bins and don’t throw anything in the sea. Keep the earth clean!

Dogs are not allowed on the beaches except on equipped private beaches. Dogs can access to the beaches from the end of September and the beginning of October until the end of May. It is on the single municipality and the period can vary from a municipality to another.

Nudism is not allowed too. If you like the nude sunbathing, you need to get information about the beaches where you can go. Beaches for nudists are in every Italian region.


2 Replies to “Which is the beach etiquette in Italy?”

  1. We will be traveling south from Trieste and wanting to fly to Malta eventually. We are interested in coming down the Adriac sea. Can you drive, take a train or other ways? If you had one or two places to stay for a dy or two what towns would they be along the route. Thank you. Arthur

    1. Sorry Arthur, but I didn’t understand what you would like to know.
      From Trieste you can travel down along the Adriatic coast, but you don’t need to drive so far. You can stop at Grado, a very lovely town famous for its Bora wind and good fish. Lignano Sabbiadoro, Caorle and Lido di Jesolo are other three famous beach resorts in Veneto region. Then you will find the world-famous Venice. After it there is a natural area, called Regional Park of Po river delta, that it’s worth visiting and Riviera romagnola dotted with lots of beach towns. Quite all the mentioned places are reachable by train or car.

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