Stefania, a 38-year-old commercial artist from Vicenza in northern Italy, was photographed while spending the day at a nudist resort while on holiday in the Canary Islands in August 2013, Il Giornale di Vicenza reported.
But she was unaware that she had been snapped naked and was horrified when a male friend recently sent her a link to an image he found on a nudist website.
“When I saw that photo I nearly died,” she told Il Giornale di Vicenza.
“It's one thing deciding to spend the day with no clothes on at a nudist beach but it's another when everybody can see you as naked as the day you were born.”
After seeing the photo, Stefania called the offending website to have the image taken down, but it was already too late – by now the photo was being used by dozens of different naturist websites to promote nudism.
She has now opened a civil lawsuit in Spain against the websites, which she believes have damaged her image and invaded her privacy.
None of the websites were named in the news report. But the publication of Stefania's image could prove costly for them – in total, she is asking for nearly €500,000 in damages.
A legal expert told The Local that the success of the lawsuit would depend on how EU privacy laws are interpreted.
“Nudist beaches are public spaces, but she will argue that she went there with the right to and expectation of privacy,” the expert said.