Why the Italians love their holidays at the sea

The Italians love for their sea holidays - Mare Mare

Usually, Italians are spending their holidays at the sea, especially for Ferragosto. Swimming, on the beach, sunbathing, dive skating and more. Either for a  few days or  for a couple of weeks.  It is an annual "ritual".  Today beaches and coasts are very crowded, but only a little over a century ago, they were desolate or frequented by a few wealthy people.  Since then, many things have happened: paid holidays were introduced, the "discovery" of the health benefits of staying at the sea , or the development of rail and road transport. 


Tanning? A must only for Italians - for many, tanning is still a status to show off.

For ItaIians tanning is still an essential habit. No longer the dark tan of the 80s and 90s,  but a nice tan is still considered as beautiful. Above all, because it is the best way to let others know, that we have been on vacation.  Although in the old times, it was considered common, a turning point occurred around the 1920s   by the well-known designer Coco Chanel who, upon returning from a holiday on the French Riviera, appeared tanned. This natural tan impressed her customers, who soon tried to emulate her. However, the concept of tanning was still far from what we are used to today. The real turning point that revolutionized the concept of tanning probably occurred only in the mid-twentieth century.

Since the end of the Second World War, in fact, the reputation of tanning slowly began to improve. The development of tourism in general led to a real passion for tanning. The tintarella, as the tan is called became, therefore, synonymous with well-being and a comfortable life, full of pleasures, travels and adventures. On the contrary, the pale complexion has become a characteristic feature of the less well-off classes who, were forced to work indoors in an office or factory, and did not have the earning power to enjoy long holidays .

Abbronzatissima - Famous Holiday song

The Italian way to spend the day at the beach

Since I was a small girl, I have admired the Italian ladies of how they would show up at the beach or the Bagno to spend the day at the beach with friends and family.

Their coiffure the latest style or cut; if shapely, wearing a matching combination of bathing suit and tunika; jewelry plus big sunglasses. Never actually swimming, but standing in the water, and chatting – “chiacciare” to their friends or family – deep immersed discussions and gestures. Always looking stylish. When seeing them at the Bagno ristorante, a statement necklace might have been added and elegant beach sandals.

The selection of the Bagno or Beach resort is usually well planned and booked ahead. There are public beaches but most beaches have so-called Bagnos where you can rent a  sun lounger, umbrella, chair and even sometimes towels. So very civilized. Of course, one has to tolerate being enclosed by rows of other guests – and that sometimes very close to each other. In some cases, the location of their sun lounger/umbrella is a right which is passed onto the next family member. I always enjoyed this scenery, as it provided a glorious insight to typical Italian family life. 

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