The last resort



Who knows if anyone has ever taken it upon themselves to walk the entire coast of Italy, from Ventimiglia to Trieste. If they had, which is not impossible (someone has eaten 26,000 Big Macs), they would not only have discovered that they had travelled 6,600 kilometres, but that they had covered half of those on sand.

Half of the Italian coastline is made up of beaches. Only 34% is rocky, and the remaining 16% is occupied by ports, industrial areas, tourist resorts and various other structures. A topic close to our hearts, since our home is in Sardinia, the region with the most kilometres of beaches – no less than 600. That’s twice as many as Puglia and Tuscany, a third more than Sicily, five times more than Liguria and 600 times more than Val d’Aosta. It is said that Calabria boasts 614 kilometres, but we don’t believe that. There must be some mistake. But we don’t need to hold all the records: we’re happy with simply having the most beautiful beaches, the cleanest water, and the fewest beach concessions, which directly corresponds to most free beaches.


Italy is the only European country that does not place a limit on beach concessions, leaving the choice to the individual regions. In Italy, 11,000 beach concessions occupy about 40% of the available sandy coasts around the peninsula. In Sardinia we have just 574, compared to 1,291 in Tuscany, 968 in Puglia, 1488 in Calabria and 1,175 in Liguria. Forte dei Marmi boasts the highest concentration of sun loungers and umbrellas, where as much as 90% of the beach can be occupied by concessions.



According to the National Institute of Statistics, almost 50% of Italians choose the coast for their holidays. They appreciate a good lounger: three quarters of those interviewed prefer a concession to a free beach. It is mainly families from the north and large cities that require sunbeds and umbrellas, mainly middle-aged people, less young and old people. Many are loyal customers, they tend to return every year to the same concession providing the hospitality, restaurants, people and views to which they are accustomed.


More and more visitors like to find the beach clean and leave it the same way. It may seem obvious, but we know that changing our mentality takes years: do you remember when people smoked at the cinema and on the plane? Beaches are our last chance to collect refuse before the wind carries it out to sea. It needs to be picked up and put in the recycling bin. And you will feel better, having taken from the sea all the benefits of a lovely dip, when you reciprocate by preventing a can, crisp bag, cigarette butt, etc., from adding to the 8 tons of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean every day.


The wind relentlessly grabs everything we leave lying around and drags it into the sea. Great, you might say. The wind cleans up. But that is not how it works: the sea must be saved. A healthy sea produces 50% of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide we produce. Did you know that three billion people, including many of our friends and family, make a living from an economy linked to the well-being of the sea? And also because we used to like eating the occasional fish, before the well-founded suspicion took hold that they might be full of microplastics and heavy metals that are toxic for our bellies. Better late than never, disposable plastic has been banned from Sardinian beaches and cigarette butts in the sand are decreasing thanks to smoking being prohibited.


Basically, every beach is our last resort. The last opportunity for good behaviour. If the beauty and cleanliness of Sardinian beaches do not lead us to these reflections, then we are way, way too distracted. Yellow Warning 🙂