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How To: Go To An Italian Beach

ITALY | Saturday, 2 July 2011 | Views [2046] | Comments [1]

So, at least in this area of Italy, going to the beach is a completely different experience to what it is in New Zealand.

Back home, no-one's too far from the beach (although Italy's a long, thin country too), so you just pack up the car (maybe walk, if you're lucky), grab your togs and boardies, a beach umbrella, towels, jandals, maybe pack a picnic, take a magazine, lots of water, boogie boards, sunscreen, perhaps a wee beach tent and a surfboard, or a kayak or something.  Sports equipment, if you're going to play beach volleyball or cricket.  Maybe a bucket and spade, if you're the sandcastle type.  

In other words, if you are going to a really decent beach, you will most likely be prepared for the whole day, because you'll be somewhere reasonably remote, and there's probably just a dairy with the basics, and ice-creams.

And you go.  You park the car about 30m away from the beach, you wander down, you pick a patch, and you set up camp for the day.  If you ever want to go to the loo, you'll probably have to a)go on a mission to the one block of public toilets that are slightly run-down and probably a wee way away, or b) just find a spot behind some bushes.  If you want food, you go to the dairy, or you starve (unless you were smart and packed stuff, or have amazing fishing and fire-constructing abilities).

In Italy, as I recently discovered, it's a rather different experience.

I went on a beach trip with a couple of friends, and we decided not to go to the really nice-looking beach, since it cost 20€.  Per person.  To get onto the beach.  Admittedly, there are sun loungers, bars, etc, but still.

We were going to go to this free beach... but it was kind of full, dirty, and small.

Luckily, Anna was smart and we went for a walk, and found that entry (without a chair or umbrella) to the beach next door (Conte) was only 3€50 per person.  Ie all 4 of us could get in for the price of one person at that other beach!

Managed to find a spot (lots of people got in earlier than us, and when they have sunloungers they take up quite a lot of room) beside the lifeguard and the little boats they hire out.  This definitely had its advantages, as we could steal some of his shade from his umbrella, and sit on the boats, etc.  Well done, Anna!

The lady next to us was wearing jandals.  With a small heel.  Seriously.  High-heeled jandals on a beach.  Now I've seen it all.

There was also a bunch of people who seemed to be spraying themselves with oil...  I guess they enjoyed baking?  Perhaps wanted to know what it felt like to be a potato chip?  Because that sun was hot.

Also, most guys will wear speedos, and most women will wear bikinis... even if they're more mature.  Pretty much no-one will wear boardshorts or, if my experience is anything to go by, cover up to protect themselves from the sun when they're not in the water.

The good things about paying for beaches are that...

  1. there are toilets.  But that doesn't mean they'll have paper or soap!
  2. there are changing sheds.
  3. there's a shop with reasonably-priced food, and tables to eat it at.
  4. there is car-parking (because the streets are pretty narrow in some places around here, and I would kinda be worried about my car getting dinged).

So, if you are a Kiwi in Italy, do not expect going to the beach to be the same!

Tags: beach, cultural differences, going to the beach, italy, new zealand

 

Comments

1

Thank you. You have prepared us, although in October, I doubt we will be going to the beach. This is what I love about traveling...can you imagine your Italian friends going to NZ and what they would think of your beach outings (which are similar to ours)? Although!....I do not think a bikini will ever, in any circumstance that I could possibly imagine...EVER (may I emphasize that?) again grace this particular body. And yes, you are welcome for that bit of elderly female restraint :)

Thanks for the post...keep it up.

  Dee Jul 3, 2011 1:34 AM

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Moi, up Mont St Clair in Sète, with my wee Kiwi, Kingi.

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