It seems like a typical family outing at the beach: Dad is leaning back in a beach chair reading the paper, Mom is making sandwiches, little Sally is playing in the sand. No different from hundreds of other families but THIS family outing is different: everyone is naked.
Nude beaches have finally come of age in Italy, making the country’s roughly 600,000 practicing nudists extremely happy.
It seems strange that a country like Italy – which plasters naked women on ads for everything ranging from beer commercials to deodorant would have to pass legislation that officially makes nude beaches in Italy “legal”. But nude beaches where you can prance around in your altogether are a little different from public beaches where bathers often lie about topless and mingling with other bathers who keep their tops on.
The current legislation allows areas that have “habitually been frequented by nudists” to cordon off their areas with fencing and post signs that alert other beach-goers that the area in question is a nude beach. The posted signs read: “inizio area riservata alla practica del naturismo” or “This is the beginning of an area reserved for the practice of nudism”.
The biggest nude beach in Italy is in the Emilia Romagna region. Bassona Beach is the largest nude beach according to the LegaAmbiente – an organization that works in tandem with the WwF. Bassona Beach sits off the “Lido di Dante” which sits on the Bevano River. Bassona Beach/Lido di Dante nude is about 3 kilometers long and is situated immediately South of Ravenna, on the coast between the village of the same name and Lido di Classe. Low dunes divide the beach from a pinewood. Since July 2002 nudism has been tolerated on the part of the beach (and now thanks to the legislation completely legal) that is located 500 meters south of the Classe Camp Grounds.
Other nude beaches dot the coastline on the east and the west. Some of the more popular on the east coast are the Lido di Venezia, the beach at Portonovo in Ancona and the beach at Sirolo also in Ancona.
Over on the west coast, Bibbona Beach in Livorno is quite popular as is Aquarilli Beach on the Island of Elba – which also happens to attract a lot of VIPS and movie stars. A little farther down sits Sperlonga Beach in the port city of Latina.
Other nude beaches poop up sporadically the farther don you go on the west coast also including the Islands of Capri, Sardegna and Sicily. For more information on all of Italy check out FE.NA.IT – The Naturist Italian Federation, Galleria Subalpina, 30 – 10123 Torino, Italy, http://www.fenait.org
Getting back to the recent legislation. It is pretty straight forward. As was mentioned earlier, beaches that historically catered to nudists (and in the process tended to scare non-nudists away, thus creating the image of a nude beach) can now post signs stating as much. At the same time, obscene acts at nude beaches can be fined up to 518.00 euro, reminding nudists that this is a nude beach and not the set of a porno film. Also wthin the confines of the areas designated as a nude beach, private investors can build – although zoning laws right now offer an opportunity for coffee bars only. The future seems to bode well for hotels and discos, space permitting.
So if the thought of stripping down to your altogether while feeling the sun and surf is something that appeals to you and your family, your in luck. As nude beaches in Italy are now “legit” their where-abouts public information and not something you find out about through word-of-mouth.