For the third year in a row the beach at Otranto in Italy's southern region of Puglia has been named the country's best beach. It has received a rating of five "sails" from Italy's environmental organisation, Legambinete, published in the Touring Club's Blue Guide.

Italian beaches are judged every year on 15 criteria including the facilities offered, the quality of beach management, the cleanliness of the sea, accessibility for the disabled and the beauty of the surrounding area. Ten Italian beaches have been awarded the maximum rating. Otranto is followed by Castiglione della Pescaia in Tuscany, and the beaches on the Cinque Terre coastline in Liguria. The other seven beaches with the highest ratings are in Sardinia, Calabria, Campagna and on the islands of Lampedusa and Linosa off Sicily.

In Lazio only two beaches have been included among the 240 beaches awarded four "sails", Sperlonga, which is about 50 kms south of Rome, and a beach on the island of Ventotene. Three sails have been awarded to Montalto di Castro, Ponza and Tarquinia, two sails to Anzio, Sabaudia, S. Felice Circeo and Terracina and one sail to Nettuno and Fondi.

Other popular beaches close to Rome, Ostia, Fregene, Fiumicino, S. Marinella, Ladispoli, Torvaianica and Ardea are not classified at all.