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  Introduction 
Northern
Central
Southern
Sicily & Sardegna
Italy

Map of Italy
Getting Acquainted with Italy
Naturism in Italy
Nudity and the Law in Italy
Websites
Some Terminology


Map of Italy
NORTHERN
CENTRAL
SOUTHERN
 SICILY & SARDINIA 
 
Abr Abruzzo* Mol Molise
Bas Basilicata* Pie Piemonte
Cal Calabria Pug Puglia Apulia
Cam Campagnia Sar Sardegna Sardinia
E-R Emilia-Romagna Sic Sicilia Sicily
F-VG Friuli-Venezia Giulia Tos Toscana Tuscany
Laz Lazio T-AA Trentino-Alto Adige
Lig Liguria Umb Umbria
Lom Lombardia Lombardy VdA Val d'Aosta* Aosta Valley
Mar Marche Ven Veneto
* There are no listings for Abruzzo, Basilicata or Val d'Aosta.

Getting Acquainted with Italy
Italy—Europe's distinctly shaped Mediterranean peninsula—covers 301,338 square kilometers, a land area slightly larger than the state of Arizona. About 83% of Italy's area is part of the European mainland while most of the rest is divided approximately equally among two large islands—Sicily and Sardinia.

If you entered Italy from Switzerland and drove south all the way to the region of Calabria (where there are ferry connections to Sicily), you'd cover a distance of roughly 1300 kilometers—about the distance from Seattle to San Francisco. An west-to-east trip across Northern Italy is considerably shorter. The distance from France to Slovenia is about 680 kilometers, about the distance from Boston to Baltimore. Farther south in Italy, the east-to-west distances diminish. In the vicinity of Rome and Naples, a trip form the east coast (Tyrrhenian) to the west coast (Adriatic) is in places under 150 kilometers and can be driven in under 2 1/2 hours.

Italy is divided into 20 regions (regiones), which are named on the map above. All but one of these regions are subdivided into provinces (provincias)—as few as two and as many as 12. There are 110 provinces in Italy. Within provinces, smaller administrative divisions are called comuni, or comune in the singular form. Regions, provinces and comuni roughly correspond to states, counties and municipalities in the U.S.

For the purposes of this guide, we have divided Italy into four areas—Northern, Central, Southern and Sicily & Sardinia.

Naturism in Italy
To the west of Italy is France, a county the is replete with nude beaches and resorts. To the east of Italy, beyond a sliver of Slovenia, is Croatia, a country which has perhaps the highest concentration of nude beaches of any place on Earth. Considering how naturism has flourished in neighboring Mediterranean countries, you may well expect a similar situation in Italy. Such is not quite the case, though.

Public sentiment tends to favor the option of unclad bathing in designated areas, but, pertaining to the issue of naturism, the attitudes of the powers that be in Italy have not been as liberal as the attitudes of everyday Italians. We're sure there are myriad reasons that few beaches in Italy are officially sanctioned for nudity, but the most obvious explanation is the monolithic influence of the Catholic Church, which over the last few decades has managed to partially keep the reins on social policy even though social mores cut loose long ago. Italy is overwhelmingly Catholic (at least nominally), and it is the epicenter of Catholicism, even though modern Italians are not known for excessive religiosity.

Without a definitive legal protection, a nude beach rarely becomes a site that is known globally. The book The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts, for example, lists just six nude beaches in the entire country. That gives the impression that there aren't many nude beaches in Italy, which is not the case. There are actually quite a few nude beaches in Italy, but all but a few of them fly under the radar of international renown.

In this guide, we detail about 42 beaches on mainland Italy along with about a dozen on the major islands (Sicily and Sardinia) and half a dozen on minor islands (Elba and Capri). Only a handful of these are really popular nude beaches that draw international crowds. Most of the rest are not widely known to outsiders, and among those are some hidden jewels. In addition to the sites in this guide, Italy has some other sites—all of them seemingly minor—that we have omitted due to a lack of sufficient details.

In addition to nude beaches, Italy has a small number of naturist resorts. One of those, in Calabria near Italy's southern extreme, is the country's only full-fledged naturist resort that abuts a naturist beach.

Nudity and the Law in Italy
As mentioned above, few nude beaches in Italy are blessed with official sanction. The others are subject to local laws governing public displays of nudity. Fortunately, interference by authorities has become less and less common. The last known incident of anti-nudity action at an established nude beach was in 2001, when there was a surprise raid on Spiaggia di Marina di Alberese in Tuscany in which a few dozen nudists were fined for indecent exposure. Fortunately, some of those nudists fought back and won. A judicial ruling in 2003 seems to have established the precedent that authorities have no business interfering with non-affrontive nudity at established nude beaches or in remote areas.

By and large, our research has led us to conclude that most of the sites listed in this guide are safe havens for nudists. In the few cases where nudity may be risky, we have stated those risks in the descriptions in the Google Earth file.

Websites
Italy's national naturist organization is the Federazione Naturista Italiana, or La Fenait for short. The website has an English version. If you are looking for information on naturist groups in Italy, this is the place to go.

I Nudisti is a user-forum about nude beaches and other facets of naturism in Italy. There is a limited English version.

Some Terminology
NATURISMO and NATURISTA
      Take the last letter off either word and you have the English equivalents—"naturism" and "naturist." In 1953, the International Naturist Federation (INF) formally defined naturism as "A way of life in harmony with nature, characterized by social nudity, with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and care for the environment." Philosophical connotations aside, the words "naturism" and "naturist" are used very broadly simply to describe places or events where nudity is considered normal and acceptable.

NUDISMO and NUDISTA
      Take the last letter off either word and you have the English equivalents—"nudism" and "nudist." These terms are used interchangeably with the two words above. In common parlance, nudista is most frequently used to describe nude beaches, while naturista is the term self-identified naturists tend to prefer to describe clothes-free recreational pursuits. There is not a commonly used term that corresponds to "clothing optional."

NUDO / NUDA
      These are the masculine and feminine forms for the adjective for nude or naked when used to describes the condition of being unclothed. The adjectives naturista or nudista should be used to describe nude beaches and resorts or naturism as a lifestyle. A man who is naked is un uomo nudo, while a woman who is naked is una donna nuda. A man or woman described as a nudist or naturist may be called un uomo nudista or una donna naturista. A nude beach can be called una spiaggia naturista or una spiaggia nudista, but not una spiaggia nuda.

SPIAGGIA
      Beach. (The plural form is spiagge.)

PISCINA
      Swimming pool.

MARE
      Sea.

FIUME
      River.

TORRENTE
      Small river, creek.

TESSILE
      Textile. Just like in English and other languages, this is a term of convenience used to describe people who wear swimsuits or places where swimsuits are worn. A spiaggia naturista is a nude beach, while a spiaggia tessile is one where visitors wear swimsuits..

COSTUME DA BAGNO
      Swimsuit.

RÉGIONE, PROVINCIA and COMUNE
      Regions, provinces and comuni are roughly the equivalents of states, counties and municipalities in the U.S.

GEOGRAPHIC TERMS
      Just about all place names in Italy have Anglicized versions that are just slightly different from the Italian originals, with a few exceptions that may not be readily apparent. Florence is actually Firenze, Tuscany is Toscana, Venice is Venezia and Genoa is Genova. That's about as hard as it gets. Otherwise, Roma is the capital of of Italia. It is south of Milano but north of Sicilia. Most other place names are similarly obvious.




To download the complete KMZ file for Italy (viewable in Google Earth), CLICK HERE.
See the DOWNLOADS page for a list of all available KMZ files.