Going to the Beach in Italy, Tuscany
Public Beach Club in Maremma Tuscany
Along the shores of Tuscany there are hundreds of miles of beaches and coves, from the northern rocky bays around Livorno, along Cecina's sandy beaches and pine forests to where I live in the Maremma - where there are both long sandy beaches (with pine woods too) and superb bay inlets of Monte Argentario.
The Maremma coast has always been a seaside playground for the people of nearby cities of Rome - in the south - and Florence, in the north. Many families have a second home here and have been summer holidaying here for the past century.
Going to the beach in Tuscany is both an Italian way of life, with all the chic palaver that Italians bring to everything they do, and a great holiday for 'tourists' from round the world. Everywhere gets very busy in August - so it's best to be prepared.
To make going to the beach as easy and safe as possible on your vacation in Italy this article offers practical tips about:
- How to access public beaches
- How to pay for your umbrella and chairs on the beach - (in Italian 'un posto per due').
- How to pay for parking everywhere
- How much it all costs
- How to find stretches of beach that don't have concessions
Family Beach in Tuscany
It's best to ask your agent or the owner of your holiday villa which beach is which. Perhaps you have friends who will tell you. There really are so many to chose from.(You may be lucky enough to have your own piece of shore included in your rental!).
If you have small children they will probably suggest the nearby sandy beaches, which have all kid-friendly fun facilities; rides, swings, toys to rent, a bar for sandwiches and even a pine- woods to lie in at lunch time - when the sun is dangerously hot out on the beach.
A foot loose and fancy free young couple might prefer the wild Maremma Park beach or the rocky coves* where they can build their own beach hut and get away from the crowd. An older couple might prefer exclusivity. We have that too.
* Please see the video of Monte Argentario Coast
Monte Argentario Coast
Lifeguards Make the Beaches Safe
How to Get Onto the Beach
There are 'stabilimenti' (beach clubs or beach concessions) along the coast which provide
- 2 lounge chairs and sometimes a single chair
- 1 small table
- beach boys who set the chairs up
- there is usually a bar which sells snacks, water, drinks and even dining facilities overlooking the sea
- a shower
- beach changing rooms
- sometimes there are slides and swings and games for babies
If you chose to go to a beach club it will cost approximately €15 - €30 to rent an umbrella for the day or portion of the day, plus a small tip for the beach boy.
1. Parking is usually included in the price of your stay.
2. A less expensive umbrella usually means that the beach is a village-popular beach, or a beach which is a local bus drop-off point for locals, (so although umbrellas cost less for these big beaches, you could have a minimum parking fee to pay - €4 for more than 4 hours).
3. Having life guards on duty is reassuring. The sea is safe, but it is the sea!
4. It's comfortable to be able to use toilets, get a snack, buy a bottle of water (use wireless connection).
5. The summer sun is fierce and a having a 'pizzolino' (a nap, or siesta) under the umbrella is pleasant and safer than staying out in the sun. Besides, all the Italians are dozing quietly. More or less.
A Stabilimento is a Beach Club that Children Love
Tuscany Sandy Beach
A Day at The Beach in Tuscany
Access to all the beaches is available to everyone. (The Parco Della Maremma has a private beach and that is because it is beach land inside the 'Natural Reserve').
Once you have decided where you want to spend your beach day you can get onto the sands and into the deep blue in no time, even if you do not rent an umbrella from the clubs (concessions):
- From the beach clubs (walk to the left or right of them and there is miles of free beach)
- From the side of the road along the beaches (where you can park)
- From the towns and villages themselves that have beaches, such as Porto Santo Stefano and Talamone.
- By boat to the coves, which are mostly, though not completely, unreachable by foot (round Monte Argentario).
The coastal sandy beaches, pebbly beaches, hidden bays and inlets may all be accessed and enjoyed in various ways -
- by parking, arriving by bus, hiking or whatever and renting an umbrella at the beach clubs
- by parking inside the club parking lots, paying a daily parking fee to the club - and using the entrance to the beach to wander further up the beach
- by the little footpaths along the roads or villages such as the one in the photograph*
- by clambering down the rocks to the inlets, leaving your car in a lay-by.
Public Footpaths to the Tuscany BeachesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Public Parking at the Beach
Italy is tightening up its parking laws and facilities. Until recently in Maremma you could park along the roads near the beaches and wander onto the beach or beach clubs without paying anything.
Now parking meters have been set in the strip of land (often pine woods) between the road and the beach, which means the beach roads are safer. (If you see in the photo above there is a single white line along the road!)
You'll get a heavy fine or even have your car taken to the pound if you park along the single white line roads now! If this unfortunate thing were to happen you'd call the local Municipal Police wherever you are in Italy (Polizia Municipale). Our Orbetello number is 0564 855330.
Is There Parking at the Beach?
Hawking on the Beaches of Tuscany
Best Beaches along the Maremma Coast
If you've decided you want to feel comfortable, enjoy some luxury and have a real taste of how the Italians enjoy their best beaches then ask around for where the best Beach Clubs are. It's best to book your spot in advance in August.
They will probably cost a very expensive €30 for the day, but what they offer is a slice of beach life that's uniquely Italian. There will be beautiful people of all ages in lovely swim wear with accessories Barbie Doll doesn't have yet. There will be super fish meals being served (slowly) under umbrella's overlooking the beach. Teams of illegal immigrants hoist racks of pretty clothes to sell along the side of the sea. In a way it is like a Bazaar. Indian gentlemen in white cotton garb drop by with trays of jewels for sale. Husbands, (Daddy), tan and trim, drops by for lunch looking as beautiful as any Hollywood star, as beautiful as the beach boys, as beautiful as his beautiful wife and children. Cherub children roll on their beach beds at noon and sleep under silk sarongs. Tuareg hawk scarlet beach sheets.
The sea goes from a morning turquoise calm to breezy waves then back to calm as the sun lowers in the sky - and mellows everyone.
Beach Club in Tuscany
Parco della Maremma Beach
You can access the Natural Park of the Maremma Beach at Principina a Mare (after Alberese in the province of Grosseto). It is one of the most unspoilt beaches in Italy, certainly portions of it are still wild.
You can get there by bus from the village of Alberese, by a hired bike (from the same village) or you may be able to park by the sea at €2 per hour. There are no concessions, so bring everything you need for the day.
You make your home from driftwood or from sarongs and for several hours you are Robinson Crusoe or his lady.
Parco della Maremma Beach
Beach Quizz for Maremma and Monte Argentario Beaches
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What to Do and What Not to Do At the Beach in Italy
Here is a list of useful tips for going to the beach in Italy:
- If you want to go to a beach clubin August, it is a good idea to make a reservation. (It's fine the resat of the year!)
- Bring your own cold water if possible - because it is expensive at the bars.
- Bring children's arm bands for swimming.
- Wear sun protection especially in the middle of the day.
- Have small change on you for parking meters.
- If you are not renting an umbrella at a stabilimento then bring something to rig up because the summer sun is harshly hot.
- Chose a beach club with a life guard if you have children.
- Tip the beach boy who brings your umbrella and beds.
And here is a list of probabl 'no's':
- Topless is out of fashion so best to wear the minimum.
- Drinking strong alcohol is not the Italian way; drunkenness is frowned upon and dangerous at the beach.
- Loud music, unless you find your own beach area far from others - or at night!
- Even though the beaches belong to everyone, it wouldn't be right to crash someone's villa garden over the sea.
- The sea gets rougher in the afternoon, a wind blows up and currents change, so best not to swim too far out or rent dinghies if you aren't a sailor.
Beaches in Maremma Tuscany Italy
Beach clubs along the Giannella
Beaches and Inlets round the Island
Natural Park of the Maremma Beach (Parco della Maremma)
Tuscany Beach Vacations!
© 2012 Penelope Hart