Summer. Off to the sea

Along Rome’s coast (Ostia, Fregene and Maccarese) there are numerous private beach establishments equipped with umbrellas, deck chairs and changing cabins, but not all have special areas for children. Here is a list of those that have playgrounds with castles, slides and swings and staff who supervise games, sports, group activities and workshops. The activities begin when schools shut in June and last until August/September. Mini-clubs allow working parents to leave their kids all day with competent staff and some places offer a shuttle service from the city. A day at a mini-club costs around €20-€30, a week about €100-€150 (lunch included). Some clubs also have a swimming pool.

Il Corsaro. From June to August this beach establishment hosts a mini-club with entertainment for children aged from four to 12. Activities include craft and theatre workshops, recreational activities, music and sports tournaments. Daily 14.00-17.00. Lungomare Amerigo Vespucci 164 (Ostia), tel. 065600317, www.ilcorsarobeach.it.

La Pinetina. From 13 June to the end of August La Pinetina, which is the largest and oldest bathing establishment on the Rome coast, hosts a play group with well-equipped facilities, entertainment and activities on the theme of the sea for children aged from three to 14. The €20 registration fee includes insurance. Weekly or monthly packages are available. Daily 08.00-13.00, 08.00-17.00. Lungomare Lutazio Catulo 6 (Ostia), tel. 0666130701, www.nuovapinetapinetina.com.

L’Ancora. Throughout the year this establishment has a well-equipped sandy beach with slides, swings and castles for children. Via Praia a Mare (Maccarese), tel. 066670998. Raloce. Open June until September, Raloce hosts a summer camp for kids aged from four to 12. The programme offers recreational activities, games and sports such as children’s yoga, as well as creative workshops and theatrical activities. It can host up to 80 kids a day under the supervision of a team of entertainers. Mon-Fri 08.00-17.00. Lungomare di Ponente 49 (Fregene), tel. 338/8150437 (contact Stefania).

Il Riviera. Until 6 August Il Riviera hosts an English-speaking summer camp called Wonderkids Summer Fun for children from three to eight. Children are entertained all day with artistic activities, swimming in the pool and in the sea. Daily €25, weekly €100, monthly €345 plus €8 daily for food. Mon-Fri 08.30-17.00. Lungomare di Levante 70 (Fregene), tel. 349/7435454 (contact Laura Bisceglie), laurawonderkids@hotmail.it. Rio. Throughout the summer this family-run establishment organises swimming courses for children from two years old. It also hosts a well-equipped beach with slides, inflatables and other equipment. Lungomare di Levante (Fregene), tel. 066680907.

Sogno del Mare Village. This beachfront facility organises beach tennis and surf classes for children from five years old from June until September. It also has a baby park equipped with slides, castles and climbing frames and a swimming pool for children. Lungomare di Ponente 25 (Fregene), tel. 0666562812, www.sognodelmare.com.

Toni. This establishment has a well-equipped children’s area with swings and slides, a swimming pool and a football pitch. From mid-June baby swimming classes are organised for infants with mothers, as well as swimming lessons for children aged three and over. Lungomare di Ponente 19 (Fregene), tel. 0666560442. Zanzibar. On weekends throughout the summer this beach club offers free animation for children aged from two to ten in a well-equipped play area. Lungomare Amerigo Vespucci 54 (Ostia), tel. 392/9093134, www.zenitostia.com.

Zoomarine. This aquatic park offers rides and water slides for children. Kids can also watch the half-hour shows with dolphins, sea lions, parrots, birds of prey and acrobatic divers. Small children enter free, children under 10 pay €18 and others pay €25. Daily 10.00-17.00/19.00. Via Zara (Torvajanica), www.zoomarine.com.

Rome beaches Ostia is the closest beach to Rome and is relatively easy to reach by train or bus if you don’t have a car. The electric train goes from Piramide metro station close to the Ostiense metro, which should not be mistaken for the mainline station. The bus service leaves from EUR. Ostia first became famous and fashionable as a beach resort during the 1920s and there is some interesting architecture of the same period. But its history goes back to the early years of the Roman republic when it was the main port for the city. There are some private beach establishments but there is also a public beach. The sand is an unusual volcanic black. Ostia has a town and a marina.

Fregene became popular during the post-war Dolce Vita years and is rather more select than Ostia, mainly because it is difficult to reach by public transport. It is north of Fiumicino and you can get there by car: take the autostrada or Via Aurelia towards Civitavecchia and turn off at Maccarese. There is a sandy strip of beach with plenty of private establishments and swimming pools, as well as restaurants and bed and breakfast places. It is also a good place for surfing of all sorts, as well as sailing. As one regular visitor says, the place has plenty of potential but doesn’t make the most of it.

Maccarese. If you want somewhere close to Rome that is less crowded than Ostia and Fregene, then make for Maccarese. There is usually enough parking space and the atmosphere is more family-friendly than Fregene. There are restaurants and bars and there are private as well as public sections of the beach. It is just north of Fregene and like Fregene there is no public transport.

Anzio, to the south of Rome, is a bit further away but you can get there by train. This is a charming small town and there are good beaches. There is a fishing harbour and ferries leave here for Ponza and Ventotene. For those who want to mix a bit of culture with beaching there are the remains of Nero’s summer villa and grottos to explore. Anzio was Nero’s birthplace and a favourite of Roman emperors. In modern times it was the scene of the tragic landings of the Allied armies in 1944 and there are moving United States and Commonwealth war cemeteries close to the town.

But if you really want good beaches you have to go south to Sabaudia and Sperlonga or north to Capalbio and beyond to the Argentario.