Liguria one of the regions where concessions on beaches are increasing.

Free access to Italy’s beaches is limited

Environment News

With the holiday season upon us in Italy, those heading to the beaches may find there is less ‘free’ space available for them. There may be fewer tourists this year, but the opportunity to find beach space without paying is also decreasing.

Legambiente’s Beaches Report 2021 confirms that over 50% of Italy’s sandy coastal areas are unavailable for free use.

Increase in bathing concessions

Finding a free beach in Italy is increasingly difficult. There is an exponential increase in all regions of bathing concessions in 2021.

This year, there are 12,166 concessions compared to 10,812 in 2018 (latest data from the State Property). That is an increase of 12.5%. Liguria, Emilia-Romagna and Campania all have almost 70% of the beaches occupied by bathing establishments.

As you can see from the table below, Liguria has exceeded its quota, while Emilia-Romagna and Campania are technically allowed to provide only 20% beach for free use.

Beaches to be guaranteed free use according to regional regulations

RegionMinimum share of the beach free
Friuli-Venezia Giulia0%
Legambiente elaboration on Regional Laws, 2021

Other marked increases are in Abruzzo with a jump in establishments from 647 in 2018 to 891 in 2021. In the southern regions starting bathing establishments in Sicily went from 438 in 2018 to 620 in 2021, with an increase in 41.5%. It was followed by Campania which recorded an increase of 22.8% and Basilicata (17.6%).

Coastal erosion

As well as beach usage, Legambiente considers the changes in Italian coastal areas. The organisation “takes an updated and detailed photograph of the Italian beaches with data and numbers in hand, also taking stock of unresolved issues, environmental issues to be addressed and green experiences that come from establishments and administrations that have decided to focus on environmental sustainability.”

The Beaches Report 2021 was presented last week during the first National Conference of Coastal Landscapes entitled “Coasts in motion”. The conference was organised by Legambiente and the Italian Coastal Landscape Observatory with the contribution of the Municipality of Lecce, the Puglia Region and the Bosco e Paludi di Rauccio Regional Natural Park.

Coastal erosion will contribute to a loss of bathing spaces as, on average, it is as if we have lost 23 meters of beach depth for all 1,750 km of eroding coastline. The report states this trend will inevitably become more complex to manage in a climate change perspective.

Between 1970 and 2020, the kilometres of eroding coastline tripled in Italy, resulting in the disappearance of at least 40 million square meters of beaches.

Leave a Reply