Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Wed August 10 2016

Italy Cracks Down on Beach-Hogging Tourists

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | August 10, 2016

Italy Cracks Down on Beach-Hogging Tourists

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

If you've ever been to the beach you've likely seen an empty beach chair accompanied by a lonely umbrella sitting at the shore's edge. If it annoyed you or still does, you're not alone.

Your complaints have been heard and now Italian authorities are cracking down on beach-goers who set up shop too early.

Across the country, police are imposing fines of as much as $220 against tourists, umbrella operators and locals alike who are found to be hogging coveted real estate along Italy's beachfronts.

According to local news outlet La Repubblica, officials have already seized dozens of umbrellas, lounge chairs and towels along a short stretch of sand in the Tuscan resort town of Livorno. The operation, known as "Safe Sea," has also resulted in the seizure of hundreds of umbrellas and beach chairs in Roseta Capo Spulico.

Officials said efforts will continue across all public beaches. And in some places, including Tuscany's Cecina, unattended beach equipment is illegal and can result in criminal charges.

It's true the early bird gets the worm, but travelers visiting Italy's beaches should think twice about eagerly plopping down their gear before the sun comes up.

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