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Where and when can we go to the beach in Italy?

With beaches in Italy now gradually reopening region by region, here's exactly where you're allowed to sunbathe under lockdown phase two.

Where and when can we go to the beach in Italy?
Photo: AFP

Italy's national rules allowed beaches to reopen to the public from May 18, with various restrictions in place, with the latest decree stating that each beach umbrella must have a space of ten square metres around it and recommending that private beaches require advance bookings.

Beach staff will be required to disinfect sunbeds between uses, and many private beaches plan to use disposable sheets on sun loungers.

A beach manager covers a sunbed with a dispoable sheet at a prviate beach in Jesolo, near Venice. Photo: AFP

While there has been discussion of separating bathers with plexiglass panels, it's uncertain whether many beaches will really adopt such measures.

However, as with many other rule changes in phase two, the restrictions and timings vary by region and municipality.

READ ALSO: Why some Italian regions have reopened sooner than others

Some local governments have pushed ahead, allowing their beaches to open as soon as possible, while others are being cautious and introducing further measures aimed at controlling crowds.

In some areas, private beaches and lidos are already able to reopen, while it's still unclear when public or “free” beaches (spiagge libere) – which often become very crowded – will be allowed to do so.

Until June 3rd, you're only able to visit beaches within your own region.

Here's a quick overview of the differences, region by region.

 

Liguria

Public beaches were allowed to open in Liguria as early as May 18. Ventimiglia was the first municipality in Liguria to open its public beaches to residents on May 17th. Many private beaches are not yet open.

Regional president Giovanni Toti accepted the 10 square metres rule with no changes- though there are concerns that, given the relatively small coastline in Liguria, there will be few umbrellas available on private beaches and a risk of crowds on public ones.

Veneto

All beaches in Veneto got the green light for reopening from May 18th, and in Venice from Saturday May 23rd. However, many are not yet open as they're still getting set up. The regional government here has not changed the requirement to allow 10 square metres around unbrellas.

Emilia Romagna

The region's beaches were allowed to open from May 23rd. With plenty of space on its famed riviera's beaches, Emilia-Romagna's government has increased the distance around the umbrellas to 12 square meters.

Tuscany

In Tuscany the beaches were allowed to open from May 18, and the safety distance between the umbrellas is 10 square metres.

Marche

Stretching down the Adriatic coast, the Marche region is well-known for its beach towns. Beaches are allowed to reopen here from May 29th, though some municipalities have already allowed walks on the beach (but not swimming or sunbathing). On beaches here, the minimum safety area has been widened slightly to 10.5 square metres


Abruzzo

Beaches can reopen here from June 1st. As well as the 10-metre distance rule, here the regional council has decided to delimit areas around each umbrella with tape. You'll also need to reserve umbrellas (here it's an obligation, rather than a recommendation as under national rules) online via a platform created by the region.

Lazio

The region around Rome has given the green light for beaches to reopen from May 29, and the ten-square-metre distance rule applies. From May 18, beaches on the Lazio coast were allowed to reopen for walks and water sports, includig swimming.

Campania

In the region around Naples, both public and private beaches were allowed to reopen from Saturday 23rd, keeping the requirement for 10 square meters of space around the umbrellas.

Puglia
Another popular summer holiday destination for Italians as well as international tourists, Puglia's beaches were allowed to reopen from Monday May 25th according to the regional ordinance signed by the governor Michele Emiliano, including the 10-square-metre distance requirement.

Calabria
With the 10-square-metre rule in place, regional governor Jole Santelli allowed beaches to reopen from May 20.

Sardinia
The beaches have been accessible in Sardinia since May 18, but swimming is not yet allowed. 75 percent of the island's beaches are public, and there's still some uncertainty about what the rules will be, and how they'll be enforced.

Sicily
Beaches are allowed to open to bathers from June 6t in Sicily, though sports and other activities, including swimming, are already allowed on the island's coast.
 

As local rules vary and are subject to change, it's advisable to check for updates on the websites of your region and comune before heading to the beach,

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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