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31 May 2011

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Jessmlu

I figured I'd comment on an update on this beach. I was there this past weekend, and it was lovely! The waters were refreshing and super cold and clean. The free beach was bigger than 2m by 10m, but in some areas were quite rocky. We got there at 10am and left at about 1pm (our sensitive Canadian skin cannot handle that much sun for that long), and at no point was the free beach crowded. There were lots of space, and people came and stayed for only a short while. Do take note to bring your own umbrella for a little bit of shade. Hope this helps!

Kat

Amanda, I think the size of public beach is different every year, and apparently it tends to shrink throughout Italy. Unfortunately. You will see, it is really, really small. The 5 m rule is also highly debatable. (I started to read all about it last night). The law says you should have access and be able to bathe, but whether or not your are allowed to sit or put down a towel next to the shoreline, nobody really knows. Also the highly lucrative beach concessions are granted on a non-transparent basis without competition, for a ver long time, at the discretion of the municipality discretion, whereas the EU rules state that they should be auctioned.

Amanda Ruggeri

Hi Kat,
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sorry that you were appalled that you had to pay for the beach; you're right in that this IS very common in Italy. (Although not a good thing!). And yes, as I say in my post, usually "you can't just park yourself on a towel nearby the chairs and hope nobody will notice"—so, unfortunately, you experienced that firsthand. And I do agree it's ridiculous that you still weren't able to just spread a towel out even though you only tried to do so because there were no chairs left!

So the only part of what you wrote that surprises me is that the free beach was only 2m x 10m—it was definitely larger when I wrote this post last summer! So thanks for bringing that to my attention. I'll have to return to Santa Marinella soon to check it out.

Those hoping for a free beach, take note... although I have yet to find a free beach that's convenient to Rome by public transport AND pretty. Suggestions welcome! :)

Kat

We are just back from Santa Marinella, and I am appalled, absolutely appalled. It is a small beach, and nice as such, but it is almost entirely private, and you are forced to rent an umbrella/beach chair if you want to stay. That in itself is not that big of a deal (although I think it should never be a prerequisite to be on a beach), but when it gets full, like it was today, with no chairs left, YOU GET KICKED OUT OF THE BEACH. It works like this: According to the establishments, you are not allowed to place anything or sit down anywhere 5 m from the water. From 5 m onwards it becomes "private property" - the establishment lease the beach for 5 years and they can do whatever they want with it. The "lifeguard" who told us to move away was nice enough to explain that part. The are a few lifeguards on duty, one for each establishment, and their entire job is to be vigilant that the general public doesn't get a piece of the beach. There is more: although there were still empty chairs left in each place, we were not allowed to rent them: Turns out people lease them for an entire month.

Sure, the is a tiny "public" beach next to all this, but is of a miniscule, laughable size of perhaps 2 m x 10 m on the outskirts of the main beach, rather horrible, and people were on top of each other on that one.

I know this is common in Italy. And many other places have "private" beach parts. But this is wrong, plain wrong, that businesses take over the whole thing, and the public has no access to the water. Somebody is extracting handsome rents out of this.

Access to sea/ocean should always be a public good, and it is by law in most countries I know. I have lived in many places (Europe, North and South America) and visited many beaches, but never in my life have I seen such a seizure of an entire town beach. Shameful. I can't understand that people who have apartments in this town (or other similar towns) don't make something about it, and continue to be squeezed by this system.

NOT RECOMMENDABLE! (In case this happens to you, you can head a little further South to Santa Severa - if you have a car - where the public part of the beach is bigger and a lot nicer).

Amanda Ruggeri

Grabowm—
Thanks for sharing your experience! And good tip on negotiating down the prices. Oops, I've fixed the link too... thanks for pointing it out!

Vivian—
You're very welcome! Let us know how you like it.

Kenny—
In general, I definitely agree. But sometimes, spending two hours on public transportation after the beach undoes all of the relaxation of a beach day... and that's when I'll head to Santa Marinella :)

Grabowm

Thanks for the recommendation. I checked out Santa Marinella today and wasn't disappointed! Definitely beats the Jersey Shore (my stomping grounds in the U.S.)! The water was very nice. A couple notes: The chair/umbrella rates seem to be quite flood -- my friend and I negotiated them down from 30 euros to 15 (total). The train link you provided doesn't list a Santa Marinella station, but, of course, it definitely exists.

Account Deleted

I was looking for an alternative to Ostia since the best reviews I've heard of it say "it is lively (crowded) and the water is OK". Thanks for the tip!!!

Kenny

Santi Marinella definitely wins if you are looking for the closest option- way nicer than Ostia. But Sperlonga is so much nicer its hard to believe its just an hour from Rome. To me even with public transportation its worth the extra travel time for the beautiful and CLEAN water of Sperlonga.

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