The high cost and exclusive nature of Italy's best beaches cause regular disputes, but accelerating coastal erosion means some of them are disappearing altogether.
Italian actors, intellectuals and the titled rich setting off for the beach this summer have been shocked to find that one of their favourite spots has all but vanished, thanks to encroaching development and violent winter storms linked to climate change.
Traditionally, the cultural and political elites have soaked up the summer sun at Capocotta beach near Rome, which has a reputation for bohemian flamboyance and boasts Italy's only official nudist shoreline. But the golden dunes and beach huts have been swept away, leaving the literati fighting over a few inches of sand and how to rebuild.
"I realised something was happening three years ago when a beach kiosk from further down the sands floated past us in a storm," said Paolo Moscia, a lifeguard at the nudist section at Capocotta, which has drawn a mixture of gay bathers, ministers, musicians and hip film directors since Allen Ginsberg hung out there in the 1950s, and wild high-society drug parties gave birth to la dolce vita. (more)