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La Bella Vita: Free things to do in Rome and beach opening dates for each Italian region

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
La Bella Vita: Free things to do in Rome and beach opening dates for each Italian region
A private beach near Santa Margherita Ligure, southern Genova. Photo by OLIVIER MORIN / AFP.

From finding the best things to do in Rome without spending any cash to planning an early summer beach trip, our weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.


La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in 'My Account' or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

I don't know about you, but I'm really feeling the extra costs of travel at the moment as the price of seemingly everything goes up - even here in southern Europe.

Italy is generally not a particularly expensive place to visit. Value for money is high, you can eat and drink incredibly well on a budget, and train tickets are usually a bargain if you book in advance. But like elsewhere in the world, the price of almost everything seems to be rising, and basic travel costs are eating up holiday budgets.

To help you make the most of an upcoming trip to Italy without overspending, here are some of the best things to do in Rome that are completely free of charge:

Eight things you can do in Rome for free

And it's that time of year again when crowds cram into Italy's narrow mountain roads and camp out in fields, all to snatch a glimpse of a flash of colour zipping by at an unbelievable speed.

That blur zooming through Italy's most beautiful stretches of countryside at the moment is of course the pack of riders in the Giro d’Italia, one of the world’s premier cycling competitions and one of the biggest events in the Italian sport calendar. 

Even if, like me, you're not the biggest fan of cycling or even sports in general, the Giro d’Italia is still fascinating to watch: there's drama, there's history, and there are breakneck speeds and daring descents all against those breathtakingly scenic backdrops. If you want to understand what it's all about, writer and Giro d'Italia fan John Last has explained it all in the below article:

A quick guide to understanding the Giro d’Italia

The pack of rides climb during the 116th edition of the Giro di Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy), a 252,42 km cycling race from Bergamo to Como on October 8, 2022.

A pack of riders travels from Bergamo to Como in the Giro d'Italia. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP.

Italy is seen by most people abroad as the sort of place where chaos rules - and not without good reason. So it can be surprising to learn just how highly regulated the country really is. In fact, Italy has an incredibly large number of rules and laws affecting many aspects of everyday life.


That even includes our summer beach holidays: did you know that there are restrictions on the dates on which Italy’s beaches - the privately-run ones, which cover up to 100 percent of the coastline in some areas - can open each year?

Few people will have attempted a beach trip yet this year amid the cold, wet and windy spring weather we’ve had across most of the country, but if you’d like to know when the beaches are allowed to open to the public - and must close again - in your favourite region of Italy this year, here are all the dates:

CALENDAR: When the beaches open in each Italian region this spring

As all language learners will know, Italian contains a lot of words that are either the same or very similar to English but have subtly different (or even completely opposite) meanings.


Some of these 'false friends' are amusing, but others can be cruel, and you might end up in hot water if you get the meanings mixed up.

To help you avoid trouble or embarrassment, we've put together some of the most frequently or easily mistranslated words that everyone should be aware of:

10 of the most common Italian translation fails

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Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you'd like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected].


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