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My Blue Italy

With its approximately 4,660 mi of coastline, Italy is the ideal place for sea lovers. The wide variety of its beaches makes it perfect for every type of vacationer in search of nature, fun, and rest and relaxation. 
The Italian coast, with its countless gulfs, coves and inlets, touristic ports and long, sandy beaches, is truly adapted to the water lover’s every demand. 
It is chock-full of fishing villages, and coastal cities with sea resorts and day beaches, as well as fishing villages, and is easily reachable by car, train and planes, and vessels large and small.Sicily, LipariFrom North to South, East to West, this mountainous land slopes into the rocky, indented coasts of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas in the west, and toward the softer, sandier shores of the Adriatic in the east. From these seas that wash up upon the “beautiful country” surge two magnificent islands – Sicily and Sardinia – in addition to numerous tiny archipelagos. These include the Tuscan Archipelago, to which Elba belongs; the Archipelago of the Maddalena in Sardinia; the Campanian Archipelago with Ischia and Capri; and finally the Pontine Islands off the southern shores of Lazio. Between the coasts of Tunisia and Sicily, we also find the Pelagian (Lampedusa) and Aeolian Islands – with two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano – and the Egadi Islands, a natural reserve. Last but not least, in Puglia, there are the splendid Islands of Tremiti.Tuscany, Elba Island, Paolina's beachFrom Liguria to the Maritime Alps (west of Genova) and the Appenine zone of Liguria, the foothills of the Alpine Mountains push out and brush the waves that lap at the Italian Riviera. With their high and rocky cliffs, these rugged coasts are rich with gorgeous nooks, crannies and deep, deep sea-beds. The marvels of nature do not stop there. This area is a paradise for numerous animal species and for humans alike: whether you want to watch nature or seek the thrill of water sports, you can enjoy a variety of activities in both the protected areas of Cinque Terre and Poets’ Gulf.
Southeast of Liguria lie the shores of north-central Tuscany; here, the coasts are lower and sandier even though it comprises the coast of the Apuan AlpsVersilia, littoral Pisa and the Etruscan Coast. All these spots have seen vibrant touristic activity since the 1960s. The rather well-known Islands of Elba and Capraia lie about 20 km (12 mi) off the region’s coast, and although they make up part of the Tuscan Archipelago, they reside in the Ligurian Sea.

Liguria, Bergeggi, photo by lutherblissett flickrContinuing along the shores that line the Tyrrhenian, one finds the Maremma, Lazio and then Campania, in large part low and sandy in character but with random, rocky peninsulas that almost meet the edge of the Pontine Islands.

Going further south, the Bay of Naples eventually opens itself up to the Sea, followed by the Amalfi Coast, the Gulf of Salerno and the high, rocky promontory of Cilento. This wonderfully lofty and jagged terrain continues almost all the way to the Strait of Messina that separates Sicily from the rest of the Continent.Sicily, Tonnara di ScopelloThe Southern Coasts bathing in the Ionian Sea, resemble the shorelines sitting on the Tyrrhenian Sea: steep and precipitous bluffs where the Appennine Range is closest to the sea, and uniform, consistent where Calabria and Basilicata move toward Apulia, near the mouth of the River Po.

Excluding the promontories of Mount Gargano and Mount Conero, the littoral zone awash in the Adriatic Sea is made up of an immense sandy swathe of land, naturally the location for many seaside establishments.Calabria, TropeaThe biggest Italian island, Sicily, edged by a mountainous, serrated coastline in the north and east, and by flatter shores in the south and west. Sicily, too, is covered in natural reserves and breathtaking landscapes. The region is absolutely astonishing, as are all its surrounding islets, where vacationers flock from every part of the world.

It is also in the Tyrrhenian Sea that we find the Island of Sardinia, where the shores are varyingly rocky and smooth. Giant boulders, as well as other islands large and small (e.g. Maddalena, Caprera), make up the off-shore landscape of Sardinia.



Also this year the Federation for Environmental Education (FEE) has conferred to Italy the much sought-after Blue Flag (also known as the Blue Banner) for the beauty and environmental quality of its beaches.

Many Italian seaside localities - 248 beaches and 135 places - have been awarded the prestigious recognition for 2013, above all those of the Marches and Liguria.  

Among 18 Ligurian destinations, those that cannot go without mentioning are Camporosso (IM), Loano and Albissola Marina (SV), Chiavari (GE), and Lerici (SP). Camporosso (Latin name Campus Rubeum), is a name that drives from the woods and oleanders that run along the banks of the Nervia Stream. From 2001 to 2007 the Italian Environmental League has inserted Camporosso in its famous Blue Guide, in addition to Camporosso’s being given the Blue Banner again this year. The presence of both an oasis known for its plant life and animal species and crystalline beaches make it a prime destination for those seeking out the sea and Mother Nature in all her beauty.

In Tuscany, Forte dei Marmi, a glitzy Tuscan resort near Versilia, was awarded for the quality of its many beach establishments and for the vibrancy and fun of its nightlife offerings.

On the other side of the Italian Boot, Lignano Sabbiadoro (UD) was recognized this year for being “Blue-Banner worthy," primarily for its four impressive marinas: Marina Uno, Marina di Punta Verde, Marina Punta Faro and Darsena Porto Vecchio. 

Many other locations along the Adriatic also received the Blue Banner prize, all famous for the range of water activities they have offered since the 1960s, including Lidi Comacchiesi (FE), I Lidi Ravennati and Cervia (RA), Cesenatico (FC), and Bellaria Igea Marina (RN).

Among new winners this year we find Tortolì (Sardinia), Francavilla al Mare (Abruzzo), Carrara (Toscana), Pedaso and Fermo (The Marches), Campomarino (Molise), Framura and San Lorenzo al Mare (Liguria), and Levico Terme (Trentino). 
Ventotene (LT), long-noted as being an exile for the ancient Romans, is also a Blue Flag winner – its beaches and landfalls like Porto Romano and Cala Rossano, welcome vessels both large and small.

Italian island localities holding onto or earning their Blue Flags this year are Oristano and Palau (Sardinia), while in Sicily, Lipari (ME), Ragusa and Ispica (RG) have also affirmed or reaffirmed their maritime importance.


The Blue Flags of 2013

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