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5 Things to Know About the Italian Lido (Beach Club)

I moved to Italy right after the end of the summer season last September. While that meant it was quieter, it also meant I missed out on the fun! But now it's summer and I'm ready!

One of the most iconic aspects of summer in Italy is the lido. The best I can translate this is: "beach club."

These are buildings--sometimes temporary that are taken down to avoid the rough storms that can come in the winter--that line the shores of Italy. They offer food and drink, maybe a playground for the kiddos, and beach umbrellas and chairs.

If you're headed to Italy this summer, here are a few things to know about the Italian lido.

1. Prep Starts in May

All was quiet in my sleepy Calabrian town until late May, when I started seeing old furniture thrown onto the boardwalk and signs of renovations.

Summer season doesn't get underway until late June or early July, but the prep work on the lidi starts long before that.

2. The Beach Gets a Makeover

During the winter months, the weather can get rough, especially in Calabria. We have 25+ mile-per-hour winds often, as well as storms, and these can change the shape of the beach.

Not to worry! Come prep time, you'll see bulldozers passing over the sand and stone to smooth them out and get rid of the weeds. In my area, it seems like there are only a couple of bulldozers, so they go from lido to lido to do the work.

3. You Can Rent an Umbrella/Chair for the Day/Week/Month

For a lot of Italians, spending every day perched on a sunbed by the sea at a lido is their entire plan for the summer. Many rent the same beds, in the same positions, at the same lido year after year.

Personally, I'm not one for laying by the sea all day, every day. I prefer to dip in the sea, dry off with a little sun, then get back to my life.

However, I would like to rent a chair and umbrella for a day just to have the experience here. I did it when I was in Nidri, Greece, and it was lovely.

4. You Can Also Eat Here

You don't have to rent an umbrella to enjoy the lido. Many have full-on restaurants that only open for the summer season. In my area, the number of restaurants will double, if only while the lidi are open! I can't wait to try them all.

5. But Wait...There's More at the Italian Lido

As if spending the entire day by the sea and eating and drinking there weren't enough...many lidi also have a vibrant night life. From having an early-evening aperitivo to staying up all night dancing, you'll find a lot to love if you're a night owl in the summer in Italy.

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