The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Our children attended public school in Italy for the past six months. At least once a week, a teacher or assistant would suggest that my children were not properly bundled up. Italians take the cold very seriously and every time my children came down with something, I would get the “I told you so” glance from many school professionals. It is important to note that a winter day on the Tuscan Coast feels like July in Seattle so my children were not cold. They wore layers but nothing compared to the bundling of their classmates. The teachers were loving and wonderful and they had our children’s best interest in mind. They were completely serious about the dangers of cold air.
Thank goodness those school professionals didn’t see my children swimming in the Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean, and Ligurian seas in December and January. Many days the temperature was above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and where I am from, that means beach day!
We have traveled up, down, and around the coast of Italy and its islands and we have discovered a few secrets of Italian beaches. Many reputable travel publications list Capri, Amalfi, Cinque Terre, and Venice as coveting the most beautiful beaches in Italy. We agree these destinations are full of indisputable natural beauty and American tourists. That is not a bad thing, of course, but it does mean that all year, people, tour busses, and cruise ships will be flooding certain destinations.
On the other hand, beaches that are popular with Italians are virtually deserted in the off-season. Italians take their beach holidays in July and August so September through June means no crowds. From Cefalu in Sicily to Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany, to Alassio in Liguria to Rimini in Emilia-Romagna, we have had beaches to ourselves. Conversely, when we went to Positano in October, Monterosso in December and Venice in April, cruise ship day-trippers crowded the narrow streets. One consistent theme for any beach holiday in Italy is that you can pack just your suit and the rest is taken care of. Many beach clubs have swimming pools and rent exquisite chairs under Mediterranean cabanas. The clubs offer four-course meals, and all the beach toys you could imagine!
It depends so much on preference. I am grateful that we saw many of the destinations that are popular with foreign tourists because they are worth the trip. I am also thankful that we lived in areas that are more popular with the Italians because we had room to run and explore and connect with the natural beauty that is harder to access when the crowds arrive in the heat of summer.
Here are some links to our favorite beach blogs from our travels to date …
- Italian Beach Club Opulence
- Second Honeymoon on The Italian Riviera
- Capitalizing on Lessons From Capri
- Attempting to Communicate The Meaning of Amalfi
- Off-Season Opulence: The Italian Coastal Towns
- Forte Dei Marmi: The Hamptons of Italy
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