The Italian Almanac

Finale Ligure

Blue Flag

Liguria, the northwest coastal region that once inspired writers from Byron to D.H. Lawrence, has the cleanest beaches in Italy. Blue Flag, which works with the United Nations' Environment Programme, has analysed more than 3,000 beaches and marinas in 41 countries from Europe to South Africa, New Zealand and the Caribbean. In its 2010 review of 233 Italian beaches, Blue Flag found 17 beaches in Liguria deserved its Blue Flag designation for high quality, cleanliness and respect for the environment.

Liguria has one of the most beautiful coastal regions in Italy and stretches from the French border to Tuscany. It includes the stunning Cinque Terre coastline and the exclusive resort of Portofino, south of Genoa.

The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). "Local administrations that are not orienting themselves in the direction of sustainable tourism in their beach resorts are blocking the possibility of developing quality tourism in the future," said Claudio Mazza, president of FEE.

Blue Flag looks at sustainable development at beaches and marinas using strict criteria regarding water quality, environmental education, environmental management and safety and other services. Since the Blue Flag programme started in 1987, more than 53,000 Blue Flags have been raised in recognition of quality and cleanliness at beaches around the world.