A record number of Italian beaches now boast the prestigious Blue Flag certificate of cleanliness and safety. This year, 368 Italian beaches in 175 different municipalities were awarded the Blue Flag. This astounding total represents 10% of the world’s total.
During the summer, thousands of visitors flock to Italy’s coastline and lakes. To determine the best beaches, the international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awards their Blue Flag status based on 32 separate features, including water quality, environmental impact, access, services and the quality of life at the height of the summer season.
This year’s ranking saw 26 new entries across the country, including three in Campania, the southern region that includes the Amalfi Coast and Naples. Campania now has 18 Blue Flag beaches, the third highest of any Italian region. Second place goes to Tuscany with 19, while Liguria, home to the Italian Riviera and its famed Cinque Terre, leads the country with 27 Blue Flags.
It’s not just Italy’s coastline that garnered the Blue Flags, 16 went to swimming spots at Italy’s beautiful lakes, ten of which are located in the northern Trentino-South Tyrol region. Other notable new entries came from Puglia, which added three new sites and Sardinia, with two new entries.
Unfortunately, there were four beaches that lost the coveted Blue Flags status: Anzio in Lazio, south of Rome; Gabicce Mare in Le Marche, Termoli in Molise, both of which are on the eastern coast and Pozzallo in Sicily.
The jury, comprised of international and national judges, including tourism officials, marine ecologists and coastguards, stress that clean water isn’t enough to win a Blue Flag. Instead, the rating system rewards beaches with a comprehensive strategy to protect the environment and local communities, while encouraging eco-friendly tourism.
So for anyone traveling to Italy’s outstanding beaches this summer, choosing a Blue Flag destination means not only will you be guaranteed a clean, safe swim, you will also be supporting places that are helping to look after the country’s precious environment.