Best Beach Nearby? Italians Just Text

For the cost of an SMS, Italian sun worshippers can save gas and headaches by plugging into sea and sand ratings from environmental association Legambiente.

Roadtrippers send a text to 340 4399 439 indicating what area they’re in, a message comes back with best beaches nearby and other points of interest. My text message (see pic) for Marina di Grosseto (Tuscany) advised taking the sunblock and swim fins to Spiaggia delle MarzeBest beach nearby. A second text suggested a visit to the nearby 1792 watch tower.

The association’s “blue guide” for beaches uses 128 parameters to comb 243 coastal spots in a yearly quality test, again gave Southern Italy’s less frequented spots top marks.

Not all of Italy’s extensive coastline — 1,850 kilometers or circa 1,150 miles — makes the grade, but figures are improving.

Ratings also take into account natural beauty, contamination but also tourist structures, disabled access, noise levels and environment-friendly waste systems.

Just 12 beaches received full marks, or five out of five “sails.” Sandy spots with a four-sail rating (44 total) include: Sirolo (Marches), Orbetello (Tuscany), Lerici and (La Spezia).The guide is also available online, Italian only.

For the first time, disgruntled daytrippers can also text complaints or MMS to the same number improving updates for future editions of the guide.

The service, provided in partnership with Vodafone, costs the same as regular text messages according to carrier plan. It could go a long way to saving those disastrous impromptu beach outings.