The summer sun-worshipers arrive at Italy's beaches in search of a patch of sand, a splash in the surf, and loads of
seafood, although the prime activity in these beach resorts is toasting oneself to a deep brown (or sunburnt red,
if one is not careful). Surrounded by coastline, the allure of the sea can prove irresistible.
If your trip to or within Italy includes a visit to the beach, here are
a few tips to make the most of it.
Buy a bikini
Anything other than a two-piece is unheard of here. Regardless of age, body shape, overhanging bellies, saggy boobs, or
cellulite backsides … it matters not. Bikinis are the choice, so wear one and you'll fit right in. As for men's styles,
the previously-popular Speedo trend seems to have waned in favor of longer, baggier shorts.
Bring your own sunscreen
The creams are rather costly here, and the SPFs available are lower than we normally buy in the U.S. Bottles containing
lotion with an SPF rating of 2 and 4 are common; why bother, I say. Anything with a rating of 20 or above is clearly
marked "per bambini". Many are highly perfumed (flowery, not the coconut smell). Best to bring your own, regular brand
Rent a chair and umbrella
Stabilimenti are businesses that erect colored orderly rows of umbrellas and chairs - colorful shadings to be had for
a price. They typically brighten up any resort area and sometimes also include little changing cabins and cold-water
showers, along with snack bars or full restaurants. Shade comes at a price on Italian beaches,
but they, as well as lettinos (the long lounge-type chair) are usually fairly reasonable. The free beaches are generally
dismal, unkempt plots of sand with trash; no umbrellas or chairs unless you haul your own.
Use your shades
If you forgot to bring huge, dark sunglasses, don't fret. Salesmen walk up and down the beaches selling everything
you could possibly need for summer – towels, cover-ups, swimsuits, and of course sunglasses.
Cool down with a granita
The Italian version of a snow-cone hits the spot in the heat and can be had at any of the bars dotting the seaside,
but they can also be purchased from carts at the water's edge, hauled about by two men who hand-shave the ice and
add any syrup flavor you'd like.
Get in motion
Many places rent jet-skis and peddle boats so you can get away from the hordes a bit and take a dip in deeper,
cooler water. Surfing and wind-surfing lessons can be procured if you're more athletically-inclined.
Bring a book
While you're toasting in the sun, you'll want a good read for something to do between dips in the sea.
There are many places to swim in Italy: the
Mediterranean off the west coast, the Adriatic off the east coast,
fresh water lakes, private and public swimming pools. This page concerns swimming in the
Mediterranean, but I am sure the practices are the same for lake and
We have been swimming in the coastal areas of
Liguria and Tuscany
several times. The Mediterranean is very salty and frequently cold.
The water is clean and clear. These make for wonderful swimming conditions. You will find a few sandy beaches
along the Mediterranean coast, but many are rocky. The rocky
swimming areas are still good because platforms and ladders are built into the rock.
Italy can be very hot and humid in the summer, so swimming can be an essential part of your trip. We have been swimming in the Mediterranean as early as June and as late as September in
Liguria and Tuscany.
I think you can swim earlier and later further south in the Amalfi area and