Thursday, August 2, 2012

What to expect on an Italian beach

Hey friends! Today I'm hoping to get in a bit of beach time before Anna and I take off for the trip to the airport and then back to landlocked Kansas. Please welcome Joslin, who's keeping you company today. :)

Now that the sun is burning hotter, my husband and I have been making frequent trips to northeast coast of Italy. We learned very quickly that the beaches here are different from back home.

1. It is acceptable to go topless in public. The American guys (aka the people I hang out with) love it. But most of the girls going topless aren't the sexy models. Usually it's the older women. Guys: Don't stare. If you can't help yourself, wear sunglasses...preferably mirrored so they can't see your eyes.

2. Be prepared to be harassed by walking salesmen. They have backpacks and arms full of merchandise to push while they troll the sands. Sunglasses, jewelry, kites, bubble blowers, purses (they are really cute and hard to resist). Some will accept a polite smile and shake of the head and quickly move on. Some will get up in your personal space and shove their wares at you until you say no several times.
Side bar: My favorite hustler experience was when my husband and I brought our friend, Ben, along with us. A bag guy came and practically set his arm of purses on my lap and raised his eyebrows at Ben. "You buy?" Basically we interpreted it as he thought Ben and I were together. My husband couldn't decide if he was amused by the whole exchange or offended that the guy didn't pick him as my significant other.
This guy was particularly annoying.
3. The girls here hate tan lines. If they're not topless, a lot of them wear halter tops. But instead of tying the top strings around their neck, they tie them behind their back. It makes their breasts look saggy and strange, but it prevents those strap lines. The guys were weirded out by the "fashion statement". They don't have the same problem us girls have. I've never seen this done in the US, have you?

4. The beaches aren't small. They just seem that way because most of it is taken up by beach loungers. It leaves little room for tossing a ball around. I've seen the local kids with mini soccer balls. They kick them from the sand into the water to their father/sibling/friend. A lot of the older Italians have paddles and a ball and whack it back and forth...kind of like badminton without the net...and with a ball instead of a birdie...and a paddle instead of a racket. There's also a lot of volleyball circles playing "Keep It in the Air". I guess they don't see a lot of pickup football games because there were a lot of people watching when the guys were playing.

5. You have to pay to use the loungers. The attendants aren't super strict on supervising them since there are so many of them spread out, so it's possible to get away with lounging for free. But be prepared to pack up when they catch you. Yes, we tried it once and got away with about an hour and a half of free beach luxury. The "I'm American and didn't know better" act works, but don't push it. This country is big on fines so I'm sure they'll be happy to call the police to give you a ticket.

The beaches closest to us are Jesolo and Lignano, both are easily accessible from Venice. Hopefully later this summer, we'll be able to go farther south or to the west coast to see what those beaches are like.

Hi, I'm Joslin. I blog over at Joslin as Mrs. Williams. My husband is in the Air Force and we're living in Italy for the next few years. I started my blog a week before I got married as a way to document my life after marriage. It's a mishmash of my travel adventures, kitchen attempts, and the giggles that come along with being a wife.


Michelle said...

Interesting! Good to know.

Amy said...

AHHHH i couldn't do topless. NO NO hahaha...
And paying to lay out? No thank you! But then again some of the things we do in the states are probably weird to others as well lol

Joslin said...

My goal is to work up the courage to go topless at least once before we leave here. I'll probably lie boobs down the entire time and be paranoid about running into someone we know. But I still have to try it once.

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love to hear about all the different beach cultures! In the photos the sand looks brownish--is it different there? Does the water look different than in the U.S.A.?
There are nude beaches in the states too, but I never went there--good luck with your goal. Remember, "when in Rome..." ;)

Joslin said...

Some beaches have "golden" sand...basically it's brown. The water reminds me of the beaches in the Caribbean. The water isn't as deep as Hawaii's beaches so it's a lot brighter.

Jesolo Hotels said...

The beach is divided in stabilimenti (you can easily see by the different color of the umbrellas), representing hotels, and the loungers usually come within the staying fee. Topless tanning really is something usual, as a matter of fact there is a portion of Jesolo Beach were nudists enjoy beaching.


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