Andrew Sturgess, from Stoke in the UK, and Carmen Spiridon, originally from Romania, were on holiday in the seaside town of Tre Fontane, Trapani, in south west Sicily, Gazzetta di Sicilia reported.
It is believed that Mr Sturgess had been trying to save Miss Spiridon after she got into difficulty. Some swimmers saw the bodies floating in the water and raised the alarm.
They died despite off-duty lifeguards trying to save them.
The couple, who were due to fly back to the UK on Sunday, had spent a week at the home of Miss Spiridon’s mother in the Trapani area.
A spokesperson from the British Embassy in Rome said the consulate was providing assistance to the family.