Thursday, August 30
Private beaches in Italy
I have had a request for a post and I am happy to reply! Sharon in Hawaii wants to know what has happened to the beach here in the summer.
Well, as you all know this coast unfortunately does not have a neverending long sandy beach like in Florida, or the South of France. Instead there are many small coves along the coastline with grey pebbles or course sand.
Now, the Italians are always looking for a way to earn a bit of cash and one day, many many years ago somebody came up with a very clever idea:
"Ah-ha!" Exclaimed the clever man, sitting in the piazza with his cronies one day. "I've got it! With that little bit of money Papa left me I will buy the beach!"
The other old men looked at him in astonishment. They started murmuring to each other, "Eeh, he's lost his mind, old Antonio," "E's probably had too much wine for lunch," "The suns gone to 'is 'ead!"
But Antonio had thought it through well. He decided that he would buy the beach, set up a little cafe at one end and put in some deckchairs and sunbeds. So anyone who wanted to sunbathe would have to pay him an entrance fee to use the beach.
This may sound far-fetched, but this is how the majority of Italian beaches work. Here in Positano if you can afford it you pay to use the 'private beaches' where you are provided with sun-loungers, fresh water showers, clean bathrooms and cafes with tables in the shade. You can have fresh cool drinks and sandwiches brought right to your sun lounger, and can store all your beach toys and inflatables in beach huts, rather than taking them home every day.
The poor people who cannot afford to pay are to be seen the other side of the fence, on the free beach. This is usually a small section of the beach, roped off, with no shade, no shower or bathroom facilities, and lots of families squeezed back to back on towels spread out on the stones. Excuse me re-using this photo, but it shows clearly the divides between the private/free and boat access parts of the main beach.
So, during the winter months of the year we have a good-sized grey sandy/pebbly beach which the children can play on, fly kites on and walk up and down the shoreline, etc. Then around about April the fences go up, the beach is divided and made private. So unless you are willing to spend anything from 7-18 euro for a beach ticket, you will have to find another solution.
Some of the beaches are quite happy for you to go there and sit in the cafe, order some drinks or some lunch, then take a swim and sit on the shoreline. Which is what we do most of the time. Or you can get a boat to take you along the coast to a less accessible beach, where you can avoid the crowds. As the summer draws to an end, the sea often gets rough and the sunloungers on the private beach get moved higher and higher up the beach. At this point the barrier is often removed and slowly but surely we are allowed access to the whole bay again.
at 3:18 PM