The Guardian: “Towel wars: Italy to fine tourists for saving a spot on the beach”

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A reader sent me a link to an interesting piece that the Guardian published in the UK yesterday and is related to what I have covered here previously based on my personal observations at various hotels.

Guardian Towel Wars

The Guardian reports that the Italian coastguard are implementing a fine for tourists that are trying to secure their favorite spot by leaving their gear on the beach overnight.

You can access the Guardian piece here of which below is an excerpt:

It’s enough to take the shine off a summer holiday: arriving at the beach first thing in the morning to find the best spots already occupied by towels, deckchairs and umbrellas.

Now the Italian coastguard has decided enough is enough.

Authorities from the coasts of Tuscany to Sardinia are cracking down on holidaymakers who seek to reserve prime beach territory by leaving their gear out overnight, with those responsible facing fines of €200 (£170).

The forces behind operation Safe Sea say the use of deckchairs and umbrellas by tourists who want to stake optimal spots is widespread and unfair to others who follow the rules.

On Saturday, the Livorno coastguard seized 37 deck and beach chairs, 30 umbrellas, towels and even some bathing suits, according to a report in La Repubblica.


This is not a problem just in the beaches but at hotel pools as well. Some think that it is okay to go out early in the morning to reserve their spot by spreading their stuff around and reserve the chair(s) for the entire day.

Some hotels have instituted a policy that if the chair is not used for certain period of time the crap will be moved and the guest can claim it back.

It is just nuts that some holidaymakers think that by leaving their gear on the beach overnight is the appropriate way of securing their spot. I am glad that the Italian coastguard is battling this, although it shouldn’t be their job really.

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  • cscasi

    Good them. Ridiculous for some of the tourists to do what they are doing, only so they do not have to get out early to get a spot. First come first served. I can only imagine all the wailing and gnashing of teeth as some go in to collect their belongings and have to pay a fine.

  • Nenad Pasic

    Same problem in Croatia (my home country). Citizens of one town on one of the islands decided to lift all beach towels left on the public beach overnight and simply burned them all in a pile to get the point across.
    Article in Croatian here (you can use translate option if needed):

    • frischky

      I don’t carry a lighter or matches when I travel, but this may be reason to do so.

  • BAstards

    Seems Italy are getting tough viz ze Germans then.

  • ian smith

    Sad, but certain nationalities are worse than others. In February I stayed in the Hilton Phuket and witnessed a number of individuals placing their towels on the sun loungers at 6am. Shame that some individuals even put their towels on further loungers so they could get the full sun in the afternoon. One thing that did make me angry was the Hilton Phuket lounge where a number of seats had bags on them, but not occupied. I won’t say who was the guilty nationality, but I am sure you can guess.