We’re deep in the heart of August and that means most Italians are at the beach! Each year, the non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awards select beaches and marinas a “Blue Flag” or “Bandiera Blu.” A “Blue Flag” beach is one with pristine sand, clear water and organized services. Beaches are given this award by complying with many criteria involving environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, safety and services.
Each year the list is updated and in 2012, 246 Italian beaches (12 more than in 2011) and 61 marinas received the award. The region of Liguria is home to the most with a total of 18. Le Marche and Tuscany each received 16 Blue Flags. Here are some of our favorite Italian beaches that made the Blue Flag list:
Sperlonga: The almost white sands, picturesque cliffs, and historical sights attract a sophisticated crowd to this beach in the region of Lazio. About three hours from Rome, Sperlonga is well worth the trip. Visit the Grotta di Tiberio, a grotto where fragments of ancient sculptures were found. These marble statues depicted scenes from Homer’s “Adventures of Odysseus.” Also visit Sperlonga’s architectural museum, housed in what once was a villa built for the Emperor Tiberius.
Finale Ligure: Located in the region of Liguria, close to Cinque Terre, this beach is a must-visit if you are in town. Here you can walk along the longest stretch of coast in the Italian Riviera. The promenade offers the best gelaterias, outdoor restaurants and cafes. Popular activities include rock climbing and mountain biking.
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