Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Lidos are Blooming in Calabria

If you do not know, a lido is a commercial beach development where you can rent an ombrello, sun beds and have access to toilets, showers, some food, rent paddle boats, etc. When we first came to Calabria, we thought there were just a lot of words for the beach. It turns out it's more like all the Alaskan words for snow. Beach is spiaggia, sand is sabbia, seaside is lungomare, and lido means a developed beach where you pay to enjoy it. You can look from the bar for the price of a caffe, plop your own umbrella on the public portion of the beaches (which all are required to provide),or you can enjoy all the comforts for a price.

Most of these lidos are temporary structures. They have permanent hookups to water and sewer, but much of the above-beach infrastructure is erected in May and June, and taken down again in late September. The lidi (plural) cover the beaches for about 60 miles along the coast from mid-July thru August with some staying open later. 
They cater mostly to Italian tourists from Naples and further north for about three months and take two months to erect and de-erect!!!   Such labour.  They are mostly families we think, so wages may not be an issue.  But how do they survive with 2-3 months of revenue??

This is the beach at Praia a Mare and Dino Island in the winter.

This spot is very busy in the summer and the build-up starts this month including a place with a temporary water slide (first pic of the post). 

There are public beaches interspersed with the lidos everywhere where you just bring a towel, umbrella and chair of your own. You are at the mercy of the lidos if you want a toilet as there are no “public” ones--although we have not had any trouble about "borrowing" them or using them with a token purchase.
We prefer using a lido given creature comforts, and my spine needs the sunbed support.  The lidos also have private shaded parking which is quite nice.  Our most-used lido is Paradiso on the south end of Praia a Mare.

This place has semi-permanent infrastructure.  Annually they bring palms for roofs, establish volley ball courts,  fencing, etc. They do simple Panini food and beverage and are open late at night when the youngsters come out for music, beach parties, etc.  

We are not out on beaches at night very often, but managed one time to listen to rock music and watch kids dance in the sunset.
Here are some shots of different smaller lidos being erected (most of them from scratch) including the pavers right now:

There are just a few permanent facilities.  Our favorite is Lido da Pietro in Scalea. Carmello and Antonella have created a year-round bar with retractable roof and doors to keep you warm in winter or open to the world in summer. 

Carmello has operated this lido for 20 years, but this new investment in year-round service has created one of the most popular beach-side businesses in the Riviera del Cedro.  They are located across the street from Ristorante Vigri which we have featured in the past. We love da Pietro this time of year--it is relaxing and they have WiFi.  Great place to watch the sea.  

Oh, did I mention Carmello speaks some English?  That and his personality draw a lot of UK folks!  We practice Italian on him and he does English to us.   

Their lido prices are similar to others. There are people with holiday apartments here that return to the same lido year after year and sometimes pay for a beach site for all of August.  On weekends in August, it’s nearly impossible to find an opening. We avoid weekends and go much further south to less touristy towns. 

After all that, where is the sun and heat??  Sun is back--heat won't be far behind.




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