One of Italy's most famous beaches is considering introducing ticketed entry from next summer in a bid to protect its fragile ecosystem and raise funds for conservation.
Spiaggia della Pelosa in the town of Stintino attracts thousands of beach bums each year. Looking out on to the national park of Isola dell'Asinara, the beach is famous for its crescent of powder soft sand and shallow, crystal clear waters. Many tourists say it looks like a slice of Tahiti in Italy. But excessive human pressure, along with climate change, threatens the future of the beach.
After environmental impact studies from the University of Sassari warned of the dangers of overcrowding, local mayor Antonio Diana announced a plan to cap the number of visitors at 1500 per day with paid, ticketed entry from summer 2020.
It will be an experiment," according to the mayor, who said that the entry fee would help pay for the supervision and maintenance of the beach, according to The Local Italy. While councillor for tourism, Francesca Demontis, told the publication that she's convinced the experiment will yield "good results" with entry fees going towards cleaning and maintaining other beaches too. Ticket prices have yet to be confirmed.
In order to protect the ecosystem and prevent visitors from taking sand from the beach, barriers have been installed around the dunes. Last year, authorities issued new rules requiring bathers to use straw mats under their towels to protect the sand. Smoking is prohibited and people must wash their feet at special taps before leaving the beach. The use of soaps, detergents and plastic is also banned. Those who disobey the rules face fines of up to €500.