Giovanni Carlucci was on holiday with his family in Campomarino di Maruggio, in the southern region of Puglia, when the tragedy struck on Monday, local newspaper La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno said.
He had been nicknamed Harry Potter for his glasses, Italian media reported, which likely attracted the lightning bolt.
The boy’s 14-year-old cousin Piergiorgio was also hit and is recovering from shallow burns and shock in hospital.
A storm swept across the beach late yesterday afternoon, and the group had just decided to go home when the boys were hit.
A retired doctor succeeded in reviving Piergiorgio but could not revive Carlucci’s heart, the newspaper said.
The tragedy comes as Italy continues to be battered by unseasonal storms, which on Sunday shut one of Rome’s main metro stations. Roads in the southern Campania region have also been closed due to flooding, Italian daily Corriere della Sera said.