Monday

3rd Oct 2022

Italian beach rules rankle Germans

Italian and German newspapers have exchanged broadsides over beach etiquette in a storm-in-a-teacup spat with shades of the diplomatic row provoked by Italian tourism minister Stefano Stefani in 2003.

The latest argument broke out following the publication of a beach behaviour manual by Italy's Union of Bathing Establishments (SIB), which advised holiday makers to cover up their bodies, avoid excessive drinking and forego hanging up their clothes from parasols, the UK's Independent reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Germany's mass-selling Bild newspaper interpreted the move as an attack on northern European holiday habits, saying "Germans are unable to enjoy themselves" in Italy.

And Turin-based La Stampa fired back saying that to criticise beer-drinking "is a heresy for Germans, not unlike outlawing pizza in Italy".

Some Italian seaside towns already display signs forbidding bikini-wearing outside the beach, with police ordering visitors to cloak flesh.

History repeating itself

The newspaper debate has not attracted any comments from Italy or Germany's political classes so far, but is reminiscent of Mr Stefani's withering criticisms of German behaviour two years ago.

The former tourism minister said that "[Germans] rowdily invade our beaches but in their most widely read daily, Bild, right on cue before the beginning of every season, with a precision that is punctilious to say the least, they never omit to report the number of car thefts in Rimini or even the latest statistics for Mafia victims in Sicily".

The tourism minister also lashed out at socialist German MEP Martin Schulz saying that he "probably grew up amid noisy belching contests after gargantuan beer drinking sessions and huge helpings of fried potatoes".

His words led German chancellor Gerhard Schroder to cancel his holiday plans to Italy at the time, with the Independent noting that the Italian recession is hurting domestic travel within the country in 2005.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks
  2. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  3. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  4. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  5. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  6. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  7. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  8. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us