Lido di Jesolo
Lido di Jesolo is a purpose-built beach resort in north-east Italy, on the Adriatic Sea close to Venice. Its miles of sandy beach, rows of sunbeds and night-time entertainment attract thousands of holidaymakers every summer.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jesolo (pronounced YEZolo) was a small and insignificant mainland settlement in the Veneto region. Located near the northern end of the Venetian lagoon, Jesolo also happened to lie in proximity to a long sandy seashore. As beach holidays became the fashion, these miles of sand became a resource to exploit. By the 1950s a whole new town began appearing along this flat, sandy coastline. 'Lido di Jesolo' means Jesolo's seaside, and this beach-side town now dwarfs the centro storico of old Jesolo, a few miles inland. Nowadays, when Italians say Jesolo, they usually think of the Lido.
Entirely focussed on tourism, Lido di Jesolo is very different to other Italian towns. Its layout, its shops and its services are all designed for the convenience of the resort's summer visitors, giving it a rather strange and unreal atmosphere. Existence here feels very sheltered: clean, well-organised and safe. There are first-aid points and life guards, sunbeds and showers, snack-bars and ice-cream shops, mini-golf and climbing frames.
The town is strung along ten miles of beach, only extending inland for a very short distance (as little as two or three streets). Beyond this are car parks, access roads and building sites. There is one main street - with several name changes - running along the length of the town, busy with shops selling cheap clothes and beach goods. There are scores of restaurants, snack bars, cafes and ice-cream parlours. You can hire bicycles or gamble in an amusement arcade. In the evenings the street is pedestrianised encouraging holidaymakers to wander, shop, eat and drink to their hearts' content.
Although the town is very active at organising attractions and events (from underwear catwalk parades to firework displays), there really isn't a lot of culture here. This isn't a destination for an active sightseeing tourist; you can make day trips into Venice but the journey is a slow one.
"Sunbeds on the beach"
Lido di Jesolo has a ten-mile long beach made of yellow dolomite sand. Along the back of the beach is a long paved walkway, running between the sand and the many hotels which face directly onto the beach. The town's main street is a couple of blocks inland, with many small lanes connecting the beach with the road.
The long beach is divided into different stabilimenti, beach concessions or bathing establishments, with their own rows of distinctive-coloured parasols. These private beaches all rent out sunbeds (lettini) and parasols (ombrellone). They have open showers along the beachside path, toilets and changing cabins. At convenient intervals along the beach are bars serving drinks, sandwiches, salads and ice cream, meaning that you never actually need to leave the beach. There are also small play areas for children. Hotels may have their own rows of sunbeds, or an arrangement with a beach. Sunbeds aren't necessarily included in the price of your hotel room, so check with your hotel.
Sample 2007 prices, from the Arenile dei Pioppi beach establishment: a parasol with two sunbeds costs from €13 - €15 per day, depending on what row you choose. Cheaper prices are available from 2pm and from 4pm. For a week the prices are €85 - €100. For the whole season you'd pay €400 - €750, which isn't far off an average Italian monthly salary.
If you don't want to pay for the beach - although this goes against the whole Jesolo culture of beach comfort - there is some free beach (spiaggia libera). A short stretch is located not far from Piazza Brescia. This is not cleaned to the same high standard as the private beaches (cigarette ends in the sand), and you're advised not to swim due to the lack of lifeguards. Alternatively, you can walk along the water's edge in front of the sunbed 'farms' and just put your towel down on the sand, if you are brave enough.
Not exactly what i expected to find in one of Italy's most famous seaside resorts. Didn't purchase anything but some very interesting stuff inside.