As the summer months heat up in Italy, many Tuscan residents are scrambling to beaches far and near for some rest and relaxation. Perhaps having this in mind, the League for the Environment (Legambiente) and the Italian Touring Club has assigned the prestigious Cinque Vele award to three Tuscan areas. This recognition is awarded every year to the best beaches with the cleanest water which meet environmental quality standards.
The breathtaking island of Capraia receives the Cinque Vele for the first time this year. Within Capraia is a small lake, the only natural reservoir of the archipelago which becomes covered with aquatic buttercup flowers in the spring. Other lakeside places received the prize as well, including the Accesa lake which is located between the Metalliferous Hills and the Maremma. The Tuscan manager of Legambiente, Umberto Mazzantini, congratulates Capraia for its first-time award, which is a result of protecting its marina and water. Lack of similar environmental initiatives is perhaps why Elba only won the Quattro Vele prize; the island has already set in place volunteering opportunities to up their chances of winning the more prestigious Cinque Vele in the future.
In addition to Capraia, the award goes to various locations in the Maremma and the Silver Coast including Castiglione della Pescaia, Capalbio, Follonica, Orbetello, Monte Argentario, and Giglio Island—all of which are located in the province of Grosseto. Some of these locations, including Castiglione della Pescaia, were recipients in 2020 of the bandiera blu award, which goes to the best beaches, parks, green areas–including bicycle paths– with the cleanest water.
Fausto Ferruzza, the president of the Tuscan League, is particularly proud of Tuscany’s performance in both the seaside and lake sectors as he believes this is an indication Grosseto will achieve levels of tourist appeal equal to the more popular Sardinia. This is necessary for the Tuscan economic system which is struggling after months of instability during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The League for the Environment and the Italian Touring Club also announces a guide of 200 trips called “Italian holidays.” The guide lists breathtaking views Italians can enjoy this summer, all the while respecting health regulations set in place for COVID. There are many locations to explore including 43 bike trails, 63 walking trails, 13 on horseback, and seven inter-regional routes. Giorgio Zampetti, the general director of the League, believes the guide represents a new moment for Italian tourism post-pandemic. He hopes that this create an opportunity for a new type of tourism which is more sustainable.
Additionally, the League is helping launch a marine life protected area for the group of islands comprising the Tuscan archipelago (Elba, Capraia, Montecristo, Gorgona, Pianosa and Giannutri) as provided for by a 1982 law, with a petition that has already gathered 5,000 signatures. All of this comes in perfect timing for your next beach day, and increasing discussions regarding how to make Tuscany a greener (or perhaps the right word here is bluer) region. (elizabeth berry)
To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.