La Spiaggia

Italy is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea (fig. 1), which the Romans called Mare nostrum to signify its vital importance and enormous presence in the history and civilization of the Italian Peninsula. Italians have always been great sailors, competing with Spanish, English and Scandinavian navigators in the discovery of new continents. Today, they build very sophisticated and expensive yachts (fig. 2) as well as enormous ships, catering to elite boaters and the needs of mass travelling. As summer nears, the ritualistic trip to the beaches begins for most (fig. 3), both to the seas and the many large and small lakes (fig. 4) found throughout Italy. July and August are, traditionally, the most crowded months anywhere in the country (fig. 5) and are best avoided, particularly if one is looking for a little rest and relaxation (fig. 6) instead of a strip of sand saturated with human bodies. A weekend trip to the beach with family and the dog (fig. 7) is frequent during summer months. While some look forward to lazy hours under the sun (fig. 8), others anticipate the excitement of sailing or boarding (fig. 9), a sure way to build an appetite easily satisfied by the many local restaurants offering wonderful seafood dishes (fig. 10). The Italian coasts reveal long lists of small towns and seaside villages, often centuries old and at times internationally known for their beauty, such as Positano on the Amalfi Coast (fig. 11). However, many are simpler places where families keep coming back for generations, lured by the abundance of sun, clean waters, delightful meals, and long-standing friendships; all enjoying the next stroll on that special, hidden away spiaggia (fig. 12).

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