The Italian Almanac

beauty at the beach

Italian News - January 27

Italy has said it faces a national emergency as over-development causes its beaches to shrink at an alarming rate, posing a threat both to nature and to the country's huge holiday trade.

"There is no doubt that there is a real national emergency, a serious problem for Italy where 60 percent of tourism is on the coast," Environment Minister Altero Matteoli told a conference on coastal erosion.

Construction, often of holiday homes which have sprung up in huge numbers in recent decades, meant a 26 percent increase in built-up coast between 1975 and 1990, according to European Union data, and that has had a knock-on effect on beaches.

Seawalls and harbors, land reclamation and dredging can all have a long-term impact on the flow of sediments which make and maintain beeches. Such man-made impacts cause more problems than natural erosion.

Walking on the beach