Italian government soothes sunbathers burnt by high prices

Official watchdog comes to aid of beach users fed up with €1,200-a-month cost of hiring sun loungers

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Amid criticism about the extortionate prices sun-worshippers in Italy pay to hire a couple of sunbeds and a parasol on the beach, groups representing thousands of private bathing stations last week struck a pact with a government watchdog to cut charges.

In Italy, most of the best stretches of sand are handed over to private concessions, which usually own the beach bar and pedalos as well. Many middle-class Italians will pay an average of €1,200 a month for the same spot every year.

But now, in a scheme called "Discount Afternoons", the standard beach package – entrance fees, two sunbeds and an umbrella and the use of showers and toilets – will cost an average of just €15 after 2pm, compared with €30 for the whole day. Some resorts will even throw in a free ice-cream too, it was announced.

The agreement was struck between Antonio Lirosi, the government-appointed price tsar, and the concession owners, reportedly under the insistence of the Italian Industry Minister, Claudio Scajola.

"We have been struggling with cut-price competition from abroad for years," said Vincenzo Lardinelli, president of the Italian federation of beach companies. "[From] Egypt, Tunisia, Costa Brava and Croatia."

With inflation reaching a 12-year high of 4.1 per cent in July, an estimated 43 per cent of the population, according to a recent poll, are not taking any holidays at all this year. That, however, doesn't mean they won't be going to the beach.

The new scheme is not obligatory. Many of the concessions will not be taking part, with some accusing the government of orchestrating a stunt. "It is just a cheap publicity shot" said the administrator of the "Mamma Licia" concern in Porto Ercole, southern Tuscany. "We don't belong to any consortium and our prices are the same as they have been since 2003 – €21 a day, which is good value for beautiful sand and clean water."

And La Stampa newspaper pointed out that "this epoque-making revolution" looks a little shallow given that most concessions offer their own discount deals and that many Italians save money by using the public beaches that local authorities, to whom the concession taxes are paid, are duty-bound to provide.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?