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ENVIRONMENT

MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

The list of Italy's high quality beaches has grown again this year. Here, we take a look at the regions where you can find the most beaches that meet the highest global standards.

MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?
Where you can find Italy's best Blue Flag beaches. Photo by Massimo Virgilio on Unsplash

A total of 427 beaches across Italy have been awarded the internationally recognised and coveted bandiera blu (Blue Flag) status for 2022. That’s 11 more beaches than the 416 awarded last year, and up from 246 in 2020.

The north-western coastal region of Liguria took the top spot for the number of best beaches again, claiming 32 stretches of coastline of Blue Flag quality.

It’s followed by Tuscany, Puglia, and Campania, with 18 beaches each.

Beaches only get awarded this status if they meet excellent water quality and environmental standards, assigned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

According to the latest edition of the list, Italy is home to 10 percent of the Blue Flag beaches worldwide.

Having a clean sea or good water quality standards aren’t enough to claim the recognition. The criteria for achieving the Blue Flag status comprises 33 areas of environmental, safety and educational specifications, including beach waste management, recycling, the presence of lifeguards and the cleanliness of changing facilities.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s west or east coast the best place for a holiday?

We looked at the regions with Blue Flag status across Italy, based on the latest FEE data. In this map, you can find where to go for a beautiful and environmentally safe day by the sea.

Watch out for the specific beach with the classification, as some municipalities have been known to put flags across the whole coastline, rather than just on the stretch where the award applies.

Here’s a list of the Blue Flag beaches, according to region:

Liguria – 32 beaches

Bordighera, Sanremo, Taggia, Riva Ligure, Santo Stefano al Mare, San Lorenzo al Mare, Imperia, Diano Marina. Ceriale, Borghetto Santo Spirito, Loano, Pietra Ligure, Finale Ligure, Noli, Spotorno, Bergeggi, Savona, Albissola Marina, Albisola Superiore, Celle Ligure, Varazze, Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Chiavari, Lavagna, Sestri Levante, Moneglia. Framura, Bonassola, Levanto, Lerici, Ameglia.

Liguria’s beaches have the highest concentration of Blue Flag status in Italy. Photo by Florencia Potter on Unsplash

Tuscany – 18 beaches

Carrara, Massa, Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, Camaiore, Viareggio, Pisa Livorno, Rosignano Marittimo, Cecina, Bibbona, Castagneto Carducci, San Vincenzo, Piombino, Marciana Marina, Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia, Grosseto.

Puglia – 18 beaches

Rodi Garganico, Peschici, Zapponeta, Margherita di Savoia, Bisceglie, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Fasano, Ostuni, Carovigno, Castellaneta, Maruggio, Ginosa, Melendugno, Castro, Salve, Ugento, Nardò.

READ ALSO: OPINION: How tourism could help save Italy’s coastline – instead of destroying it

Campania – 18 beaches

Vico Equense, Piano di Sorrento, Sorrento, Massa Lubrense, Anacapri, Positano, Capaccio, Agropoli, Castellabate, Montecorice, Pollica, Casal Velino, Ascea, Pisciotta, Centola, Camerota, Ispani, Vibonati.

Marche – 17 beaches

Gabicce Mare, Pesaro, Fano, Mondolfo, Senigallia, Ancona, Sirolo, Numana, Porto Recanati, Potenza Picena, Civitanova Marche, Fermo, Altidona, Pedaso, Cupra Marittima, Grottammare, San Benedetto del Tronto.

Breathtaking Puglia waters. Photo by Massimo Virgilio on Unsplash

Calabria – 17 beaches

Tortora, Praia a Mare, San Nicola Arcella, Santa Maria del Cedro, Diamante, Roseto Capo Spulico, Trebisacce, Villapiana, Cirò Marina, Melissa, Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Sellia Marina, Soverato, Tropea, Caulonia, Roccella Jonica, Siderno.

Sardinia – 15 beaches

Badesi, Castelsardo, Sorso, Sassari, Santa Teresa Gallura, Aglientu, Trinita’ d’Agultu e Vignola, La Maddalena, Palau, Budoni, Oristano, Tortolì, Bari Sardo, Quartu Sant’Elena, Sant’Antioco.

Abruzzo – 14 beaches

Martinsicuro, Alba Adriatica, Tortoreto, Giulianova, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Pineto, Silvi, Pescara, Francavilla al Mare, Fossacesia, Vasto, San Salvo, Villalago, Scanno.

Sicily – 11 beaches

Alì Terme, Roccalumera, Furci Siculo, Santa Teresa di Riva, Lipari, Tusa, Menfi, Modica, Ispica, Pozzallo, Ragusa.

To find your nearest blue flag beach, you can search the interactive map here.

Trentino-Alto Adige – 10 beaches

Bedollo, Baselga di Pine’, Pergine Valsugana, Tenna, Calceranica al Lago, Caldonazzo, Lavarone, Levico Terme, Sella Giudicarie, Bondone.

Lazio – 10 beaches

Trevignano Romano, Anzio, Latina, Sabaudia, San Felice Circeo, Terracina, Fondi, Sperlonga, Gaeta, Minturno.

Veneto – 9 beaches

San Michele al Tagliamento, Caorle, Eraclea, Jesolo, Cavallino Treporti, Venezia, Chioggia, Rosolina, Porto Tolle.

Emilia Romagna – 9 beaches

Comacchio, Ravenna, Cervia, Cesenatico, San Mauro Pascoli, Bellaria Igea Marina, Riccione, Misano Adriatico, Cattolica.

Basilicata – 5 beaches

Maratea, Bernalda, Pisticci, Policoro, Nova Siri.

Piedmont – 3 beaches

Cannobio e Cannero Riviera, Gozzano.

Friulia-Venezia Giulia – 2 beaches

Grado, Lignano Sabbiadoro.

Molise – 1 beach

Campomarino.

Lombardy – 1 beach

Gardone Riviera.

To find your nearest blue flag beach, you can search the interactive map here.

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ENVIRONMENT

REVEALED: These are the most polluted towns in Italy

The northern cities of Milan and Turin were named Italy's 'smog capitals' in a new pollution report on Monday which urged the government to take action over poor air quality.

REVEALED: These are the most polluted towns in Italy
Photo: Pixabay

Smog and pollution are choking Italian cities year-round and many towns are exceeding limits on fine particles and other pollution, according to another report from Italian environmental watchdog Legambiente.

The Mal’aria di città (Air pollution in the city) report for 2023, unveiled on Monday, was the latest to warn about the risks to health posed by pollution in many parts of the country.

It found that 25 of 95 cities monitored had violated clean air ordinances by exceeding daily fine particle (PM10) emission limits, which are currently set at no more than 35 days a year with a daily average of over 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

Turin was ranked as the worst offender, exceeding this level on 90 days, closely followed by Milan (84), Asti (79), Modena (75), and Padua and Venice at 70.

These were followed by Cremona, Treviso, Mantua and Rovigo, all of which exceeded limits to a lesser degree.

All of the most polluted cities were in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, with most within the north-western ‘industrial triangle’.

Some southern cities featured nearer the bottom of the ranking, with Andria (Puglia) and Ragusa (Sicily) exceeding limits on several days, as well as Rome, which overshot the permitted level for one day.

(Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

The average annual rate of PM10 emissions nationwide dropped slightly, by two percent year-on-year, the report found.

“This, however, is not enough to guarantee the health of citizens,” said Stefano Ciafani, president of Legambiente.

He pointed out that the situation looked even worse if air quality in Italian cities were measured against tighter limits under the new European Directive on air quality, in force from 2030, which lowers the PM10 threshold from 35 to 20 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

“Only 23 out of 96 cities (24 percent) would be under these limits,” Ciafani said, while 84 percent would exceed the threshold for PM2.5 and 61 percent for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Italy has repeatedly been reprimanded by the European Union over air quality, and has “persistently and systematically” breached EU recommended limits, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2020.

The north of Italy has long been ranked among the worst areas in Europe for polluted air according to data from the European Environment Agency.

“Air pollution is not only an environmental problem, but also a health problem of great importance,” said Ciafani. “In Europe, it’s the main cause of premature death due to environmental factors.”

“Italy has more than 52,000 deaths per year caused by PM2.5 emissions, equal to a fifth of those recorded throughout the continent,” he said.

The main causes of air pollution in Italian cities are reported to be industry, inefficient domestic heating systems, agricultural practices and, most of all, heavy traffic.

In Italy, cars continue to be by far the most-used means of transport. 65.3 percent of journeys overall are made by car, Legambiante wrote, with the emissions from some 38 million cars choking Italy’s towns and cities.

(Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Legambiente said “drastic” measures were required to tackle the problem, including funds for more efficient heating systems in homes and public buildings and a major increase in public transport provision.

The group said Italy must “quadruple the availability of public transit, promoting integrated season tickets as done by Germany in 2022”, triple the number of electric buses, create zero-emission zones in town centres, and “create another 16,000 kilometres of cycle paths”.

It also praised local authorities choosing to bring in 30 km/h speed limits in city centres. Councils in Bologna, Turin, Milan and Cesena have all said they plan to implement these limits, following the lead of European cities including Paris and Madrid, despite fierce criticism from Italian transport minister Matteo Salvini.

Legambiente published a petition urging the government to make clean air and more livable cities a priority, saying Italy should follow Paris in attempting to create ’15-minute cities’, in which everyone lives within a quarter of an hour’s walk of vital amenities such as shops and schools and possibly also workplaces.