The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - August 11

Hotels at an Italian seaside resort are eager to act on the town's decision to authorise an all-female beach sections for Muslim women, with at least one hotel owner saying that plans already are under way. Supporters of the idea say that the separate beaches would allow observant Muslim women to shed their headscarves and long robes and enjoy the sun in privacy; religious restrictions otherwise oblige them to cover up if men are present.

The city council of Riccione, a popular resort on Italy's Adriatic coast about 150km east of Florence, has said it is prepared to approve requests to set up partitions on parts of the shoreline to satisfy requests from the town's growing numbers of Arab and Muslim tourists. "They can have anything they want but they can't go to the beach, at least not without all those heavy clothes," Attilio Cenni, owner of the upscale Grand Hotel des Bains, said of his female Muslim guests.

Cenni said he plans to open the first secluded section starting in September on a stretch of shoreline of about 1,000 square metres and to expand further next season across the more isolated beaches on Riccione's outskirts. He also plans TV advertising campaigns in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Cenni said in a telephone interview.

Popular with German and French tourists, Riccione's mass-tourism venues recently have started to attract thousands of Arab and Muslim visitors each year, mostly from the conservative Arabian peninsula.