The Italian Almanac

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Beach Etiquette

An Italian consumer group has launched a campaign to stop boorish behaviour on the nation's beaches spoiling summer vacations. "Many people behave on the beach as if the whole shoreline belonged to them and other people did not exist," Codacons said in a statement. "In this way they ruin the holidays of the people sitting under the beach umbrellas near them".

The consumer association has released a 10-point etiquette code that it hopes will reduce the number of complaints it receives each year from disappointed holidaymakers. Top of the list of beach irritants are mobile-phone ringtones, which are guilty of waking sunbathers from their afternoon naps. Codacons suggests people put their phones on vibrate mode or leave them at home all together if they are taking to the sands.

Another big problem are screaming parents. Many mums and dads cannot be bothered to move to tell their children to stop fighting, come back for lunch, put on sun-cream etc. so they shout at them from the comfort of their sun beds instead. In doing so they make a major contribution to beach noise pollution. People are also invited not to get into loud discussions while haggling with beach vendors.

Children are targeted too. The code tells youngsters it is all right to build sandcastles, but not to "take up half of the beach forcing other bathers to do somersaults" to avoid their creations. It says soccer, Frisbee and beach games should be limited to areas away from other holidaymakers because "people are not happy to be hit by balls in the head or the stomach".

The code points out that the "sea is not a dust bin" and instructs people not to drop cigarette butts and ice-cream wrappers in the sand. It also says people should not use shampoo when having a shower on the beach as this pollutes marine waters.

The code will be put on display at beach establishments and bars all over Italy this summer.