The Italian Almanac
Crystal clear waters and pristine sands won 231 beaches in 117 resorts the prestigious Blue Flag award, four more than last year. This means around 10% of the country's beaches now boast a Blue Flag after passing FEE's strict tests for water quality and environmental management.
At a regional level, Liguria inched into first place above the Marche and Tuscany, which it tied with last year. Liguria is now home to 17 Blue Flag resorts, one more than last year, compared to 16 in the Marche and Tuscany. Commenting on the results, Liguria's new tourism councillor Angelo Berlangieri described the awards as "an important sign of prestige and strength".
Abruzzo came fourth with 13 flags and Campania fifth with 12 flags. Puglia added another resort to its list giving it 8 Blue Flags and joint sixth place with Emilia Romagna. Veneto remained stable with six flags while Lazio counted five flags, one up from last year, bringing it level with Sicily and Calabria. Friuli Venezia Giulia and Sardinia had two flags each, while Molise and Basilicata had just one. Inland Piedmont, which has no coastal resorts, nevertheless chalked up two Blue Flags for its pristine lake sites.
FEE examines thousands of beaches all over Europe every year, demanding that strict environmental criteria are met before its Blue Flags can be displayed. Its study focuses on water quality, environmental information and education, environmental management, safety, cleanliness, provisions for waste and recycling, urban planning and strict zoning of different beach activities.