Beachgoers in Sardinia. (Photo: Ross Huggett/CC BY 2.0)
By Erik Shilling, originally published in Atlas Obscura.
Italy is home to some of the busiest beaches in the world, which have been popular with vacationers throughout Europe for decades.
But that popularity comes at a price, Italian officials have said recently, in the form of tourists rudely trying to save their spot at the beach with a lonely towel, umbrella, or beach chair, according to the Guardian, by leaving the gear there overnight.
It's become such a problem that the Italian coast guard has started fining people 200 euros, or around $220, for the offense, in addition to seizing the offending towels, umbrellas, or chairs.
And it's apparently senior citizens that might be most guilty of the practice. The Guardian says that Italy previously fined a group of tourists--all over 60--for laying out towels before a beach opened in Liguria, in northern Italy.
And La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper, said that reserving your spot was an "ancient" habit, which probably started just after World War II, as tourists began to pour in.
Be patient on your beach vacations, tourists of Italy, and consider your life choices. It's just a spot in the sand, after all.