Almost all beaches in Italy are privately owned. I am just shocked!
I live in Australia. Anyone can go to the beach in Australia. It doesn't cost beachgoers - well, it does in some holiday areas, there are additional tarriffs paid by tourists, but they are collected in motels and so on and are quite small. Maintenance and cleanliness of the beach is maintained by the local council.
Australian beaches are for the most part public places. You can put your towel down pretty much anywhere on a beach for free. The only problem you might have is that if it is a patrolled beach (by lifesavers, who are volunteers), you must swim between the flags as this is the safe area with no rips* or other dangers to swimmers. If it's an unpatrolled beach you may drown, but that's another story.
So, as an Aussie with beaches free for all comers (just please swim safe and keep the beach clean!), I found this piece on ABC PM last night unbelievable.
MARK COLVIN: In Australia, even when times are tough, people can still enjoy a day at the beach, it's one of the few places left that provides free entertainment for the family.Read more.
Not so in Italy where in some regions there's no such thing as a free beach.Beaches were privatised in the 50s and putting a towel down on the sand can now cost up to $250 a day.
This summer, the economic downturn has savaged the European tourist market, nowhere more than Italy where visitor numbers are down by one million.
A nationwide advertising campaign is calling on local councils to reclaim their beaches.
Europe correspondent Emma Alberici.
1. A stretch of water in a river, estuary, or tidal channel made rough by waves meeting an opposing current.
2. A rip current.