For all you beach lovers looking to keep cool this summer here are nine possibilities all within the region of Lazio. Each beach on the list, ordered from north to south, offers either stabilimenti (private beaches with entrance fees usually including chairs, umbrellas, bathrooms, changing rooms and a duty lifeguard) or spiaggia libera (free beach with the option to rent a lounge chair and/or umbrella). Although there are various ways to get to the beaches by public transport, the routes listed are the fastest and most cost-effective.
1. S. Marinella. The northernmost beach on our list offers a small strip of white coastline with the option to set up post on either the stabilimenti or spiaggia libera. There are two trains per hour leaving from Termini station for S. Marinella station and the journey takes about one hour. Second class costs 3.70 one way. Once you arrive at the station its a mere five minutes walk to the beach.
2. Fregene. A former chic hotspot of the 1960s and 1970s, Fregene boasts long stretches of black sand beaches with both stabilimenti and spiaggia libera. Along the coast there is also a wide selection of family-oriented restaurants and less expensive tavole calde. Romes club scene tends to flock to Fregene and nearby Ostia (see below) in the summer months. Between 11 and 17 Co.tral buses per day leave for Fregene from the Aurelia metro stop (line A). The journey takes about one hour.
3. Ostia/Cancelli. For a cheap and quick fix, these beaches are the answer. Ostia and the Cancelli (gates) are the strips of coastline nearest Rome. Ostia is loaded with often pricey and trendy stabilimenti, while the Cancelli offer free beaches equipped with restaurants and bathrooms. Public transport takes less than one hour and you can use the same 1 metro/bus tickets sold in Rome. Take the overground metro from the Porta S. Paolo station located next to the Piramide metro stop (line B). The train makes various stops from which you can get to the beach: Ostia Centro, Stella Polare, Castel Fusano and lastly Cristoforo Colombo. To reach the Cancelli get off at the last train stop and take the 07 MARE bus until you reach the gates numbered 1, 2, 3 etc. The higher the number the more pleasurable your beach experience will be.
4. Anzio/Nettuno. The region of Lazio has only four Blue Flag approved beaches and Anzio is one of them. Blue Flag status is given to beaches that meet the quality standards set by the Italian branch of the international organisation Fee (Foundation for environmental education, www.feeitalia.org) regarding cleanliness both on the beach and in the water. One train per hour leaves from Termini station, stopping first at Anzio and then at Nettuno (these beaches are only ten minutes apart). It takes 60-70 minutes to get there and the cost is 3. Fortunately its less than a ten-minute walk to the beaches from the respective train stations.
5. Sabaudia. This stretch of beach is famous for its beauty and spaciousness and is another Blue Flag area. Although predominantly spiaggia libera, there are a few stabilimenti to choose from which include some nice restaurants. From Romes Laurentina metro stop (line B) there are nine buses daily to Sabaudia between 06.45 and 20.50. Get off at the Sabaudia Piazza Oberdan stop and from there take the little shuttle bus which runs up and down the local coastline it passes every 30 minutes. The total trip time is about two hours but it is well worth it.
6. S. Felice Circeo. Nearly 100 km south of Rome are the lovely beaches and crystal clear waters of Circeo. Although its one of the longer rides to the beach at about two and a half hours, this part of the coast shouldnt be missed. Stabilimenti abound but look for the spiaggia libera nearest the port: it definitely merits the mini-trek. Eight buses per day leave for Circeo between 08.45 and 19.00 from the Laurentina metro stop. Get off at the last stop and walk for ten minutes until you reach the beach.
7. Terracina. Located just 10 km south of Circeo, Terracina is quite easy to reach because you have the option of taking the train rather than the bus. From Termini station take the hourly regional train for Naples and get off at Monte S. Biagio (5.60). From there, take the bus (1) for about 25 minutes until you reach the beach. Terracina has as many spiagge libere as stabilimenti and both are well-kept and clean, making it a popular destination for families.
8. Sperlonga. The third Blue Flag beach on our list, Sperlonga is a gorgeous getaway. The stabilimenti dominate the beach leaving only narrow strips for the spiaggia libera. As with Terracina, take the regional train headed to Naples from Termini station and get off at Fondi-Sperlonga. Once there, take the Co.tral or Piazzoli bus for 15 minutes to Sperlonga centre which runs ten minutes past the hour from 08.10. Check out the town and then make your way down the long and steep set of steps leading directly to the beach. The trip takes about one and a half hours and costs 5.60 one way.
9. Gaeta. This fourth and final Blue Flag area in Lazio has a picturesque mediaeval town to explore and clean beaches for relaxing and sunbathing. Dont be surprised to stumble upon lots of English speakers as Gaeta hosts a United States naval base. From Termini station take one of the two trains per hour headed towards Naples (regional or intercity). Get off at Formia and from there take the bus for another 25 minutes until you reach Gaeta. The train ride costs 6.70 (regional) and 11.85 (intercity) one way and the total trip takes about two hours.
For more information about timetables and transportation consult the Co.tral and Trenitalia websites: www.cotralspa.it , www.trenitalia.it.