With a grand tally of 281 Blue Flag beaches, Italy's seaside offering is as big a draw as its art and culture. Beach-life Italian style takes in a whole range of experiences, from the rows of sun beds and parasols arranged with military precision on Tuscany's vast sandy lidos to the hidden bays of glittering turquoise pools that fringe Sardinia's shores. Here is a taste of what you can expect at some of Italy's top Blue Flag beaches.
Classic Italian beach life
Tuscany boasts 33 of the country's Blue Flag beaches. Top spots are those around Monte Argentario while further up the coast, the beaches of Camaiore, Pietrasanta and Viareggio are lined with row upon row of sun loungers, all perfectly positioned on immaculately spotless sand. Check in to the Locanda al Colle, a charming guesthouse in the hills above the Versilian beaches.
Lido di Camaiore
Chill in Campania
We love the beaches around Massa Lubrense at the tip of the Amalfi Coast, but for a more authentic experience, head further south towards the more remote Cilento region, past the beaches at Castellabate and down to Pisciotta and Acciaroli. The Cilento National Park has a 100km long coastline dotted with waterfront restaurants and charming fishing villages that overlook Caribbean-style clear waters. Stay at the beachfront Hotel La Pineta in Acciaroli or at the Hotel Marulivo in the cliff top village of Pisciotta.
Beach at La Pineta at Acciaroli
A Basilicata break
Still mercifully undiscovered by the crowds, Maratea is a hideaway hilltop town set above the coastal road and pocket-sized beaches of the Basilicata region. The two beaches of Acquafredda and Fiumicello are both Blue Flag but all along the coast, the sea is crystal clear, fringed with sandy and shingle coves, caves and grottoes. Check in to La Locanda delle Donne Monache in the medieval village of Maratea.
Spend your days on La Secca beach, Maratea
Sun, sea and seriously good food are a large part of Puglia's attraction and 28 of its beaches are Blue Flag, including those at Polignano al Mare, Monopoli, Torre Canne and Savelletri. Le Canne Bianche Beach Hotel is located on the beachfront while the 10-bedroom boutique Don Ferrante is in Monopoli's historic centre.
Pool with a view at Don Ferrante
Follow that Italian
Those in the know will tag behind Italians straight over to Sardinia where the beaches are less regimented and fringed by translucent turquoise water. San Teodoro is close to the heavenly beaches of Lu Impostu and Cala d'Ambra and ideally placed for a day trip to the Blue Flag beaches at the Maddalena islands. The Paradise Resort has a seafront location on Lu Impostu beach and easy access to other beaches.
Island of Tavolara in Sardinia, San Teodoro