Andiamo al mare: Italians’ favourite seaside resorts

In the month of August Italian cities empty as the citizens head for the beach. Here’s a guide to the Italians’ favourite seaside resorts

Sun bathers on the beach at Isola dei Conigli  in Lampedusa, Italy. Photograph: Getty Images

Sun bathers on the beach at Isola dei Conigli in Lampedusa, Italy. Photograph: Getty Images

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 01:00

Come the good weather, virtually every Italian will begin planning a trip to the beach. Andiamo al mare, we’re going to the seaside. Beginning in June, Italy’s beaches start to fill up with day-trippers and weekenders from the surrounding regions. They’re joined in July by foreign tourists who often have the beaches to themselves midweek as most of the country prepares for the annual migration. Because from August 1st, you’ll start seeing signs everywhere: chiuso per ferie, closed for holidays.

The authors of such signs and their families have packed their cars and are stuck in long, slow-moving queues at motorway toll booths, waiting patiently because they know that beyond the booths are the golden sands and warm Mediterranean waters that they will spend as large a chunk of the month enjoying as their budgets and lifestyles will allow.

Some Italians like to mix it up, picking different beach resorts depending on what’s trendy this season. Others remain devoted to the same spots, going to the same beach year after year, renting the same accommodation, even opting for the same spot at the beach club.

Most Italian beaches have beach clubs, which range from one operator renting out loungers and umbrellas to more permanent establishments with bars, swimming pools, restaurants and kids’ clubs. You pay a fee – anywhere from €10 to €60 a day – for which you get a couple of loungers and an umbrella, which are yours for the whole day, no matter how long you spend there.

There isn’t a strip of sand or rocky cove anywhere in the country that won’t have somebody on it during the summer, but these are the most popular regions:

Adriatic coast
The Adriatic coast on either side of Rimini is Italy’s most popular seaside destination. The first beach huts were erected along the 110km stretch of golden sand in 1843, and it grew in popularity to become the place to get a tan in the 1950s and 1960s. Since then it has become Italy’s answer to Ibiza, Marbella and Blackpool all rolled into one: fun, unpretentious and tacky. It is the favoured destination for budget-conscious families and a young party crowd who can’t get enough of the raucous nightclub scene.

The most popular strip is Riccione, just by the airport south of Rimini proper, where during the summer months every inch of sand is covered in deckchairs and beach towels.

About 30km north of Rimini is the fashionable beach resort of Milano Marittima, the destination of choice for beachcombers looking for a slightly more upmarket Adriatic experience.

Italy’s most celebrated coastline is the Amalfi coast, with its sheer cliffs tumbling down to secluded coves lapped by the turquoise waters of the warm Tyrrhenian Sea.

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