The most polluted beaches in Italy

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Martí Micolau

Author and references

Every year Legambiente deals with analyzing Italian waters, through the navigation of his Green schooner. The trips of this boat are aimed at reporting of polluted sections, of points that present an environmental criticality or sewerage without purifier. The presence of these factors jeopardizes the quality of the water: there are also concentrations of bacteria of fecal origin that exceed double the permitted limit! This situation endangers not only the health of the entire ecosystem, but also that of bathers.

Evaluation criteria

As we have already mentioned, to establish the health of a certain stretch of sea are performed in the first place microbiological analysis. Usually, the most controlled areas are those they coincide with industrial and sewer waste, but also the mouth of rivers. Through these tests the presence of certain types of bacteria such as intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli, which proliferate precisely where wastewater is spilled and where purifiers are lacking. If the results exceed the limit values ​​imposed by the Italian legislation on bathing water (Legislative Decree 116/2008 and decree of the Ministry of Health of 30 March 2010), the waters are considered polluted. However, when the results exceed the limits more than double, the beaches are indicated as highly polluted. Also this year, sample studies were carried out in all Italian regions. Based on the results of the analyzes, it was possible to draw up this list of regions with polluted beaches.


Goletta Verde reports critical issues in rivers and streams, which then pour into the sea, polluting some stretches of the Abruzzo coast. The Abruzzo municipalities that have passed the test for bathing are: Martinsicuro / Alba Adriatica, Giulianova, Montesilvano, Pescara, Casalbordino.
Unfortunately there are three municipalities that have instead achieved bad results.
The most critical situation was in fact recorded in Francavilla a Mare, San Vito Chietino and Rocca San Giovanni.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Francavilla a Mare (CH), Mouth of the Alento River;
  • San Vito Chietino (CH), mouth of the Feltrino river;
  • Rocca San Giovanni (CH), Mouth of the canal in La Foce.


The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Nova Siri (MT), Toccacielo, mouth of the Toccacielo canal;
  • Pisticci / Scanzano Jonico (MT), Cavone river mouth;
  • Maratea (PZ), Fiumicello / Santa Venere, Fiumicello river mouth.


Another region of the South is no better, beset by tourists especially in summer for its blue sea. The quality of these waters, however, is really bad, due to the almost total lack of purifiers. Waste water from sewage plants pollutes 13 out of 23 points. Here the bacterial loads are dangerously high, often there are values ​​that go beyond double the limits imposed by the legislation. The mouths of rivers, canals and streams are once again under scrutiny.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Acquappesa / Guardia Piemontese (CS), border between Pantana-Santa Rosalia-Macchia and Marina di Guardia Piemontese, Foce River Bagni c / o via Cristoforo Colombo;
  • Lamezia Terme / Gizzeria (CZ), Marinella / Gizzeria Lido, Mouth of the Spilinga stream;
  • Vibo Valentia (VV), Vibona locality, Foce Fosso Sant'Anna
  • Briatico (VV), Piana di Vada, Murria torrent mouth
  • Ricadi (VV), Turiano locality, mouth of the Ruffa stream;
  • San Ferdinando (RC), Mouth of the Mesima river;
  • Reggio Calabria (RC), Lido Comunale, the mouth of the Caserta stream;
  • Brancaleone Marina (RC), Sabbie Bianche locality, Pantano Grande river mouth;
  • Capo Rizzuto Island (KR), Le Castella locality, Mouth channel beach to the right of the castle;
  • Crotone (KR), mouth of the Passovecchio stream;
  • Crotone (KR), Esaro river mouth;
  • Rossano (CS), Marina di Rossano (CS), mouth of the Colognati stream.


The land of Naples and the Amalfi Coast has been presenting for years a black crisis regarding environmental protection and in particular of its sea. In 2016 the Goletta Verde surveys decreed that in 17 points out of 31 (a real record!) The bacterial loads exceeded the permitted limits.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Centola (SA), Locality Caprioli, Foce rio near the beach;
  • Capaccio / Agropoli (SA), Solofrone river mouth;
  • Capaccio (SA), Torre di Paestum Licinella, Foce Capo di Fiume;
  • Capaccio (SA), Località Laura, Foce rio at via Poseidonia 441;
  • Eboli (SA), Marina di Eboli, Mouth discharge channel;
  • Battipaglia (SA), Foce del Tusciano;
  • Pontecagnano Faiano (SA), Location By sea Jonio / Lungomare Magazzeno, Foce Torrente Asa;
  • Salerno / Pontecagnano Faiano (SA), Torre Picentina locality, Picentino river mouth;
  • Salerno (SA), Lungomare Cemente Tafuri, Mouth of the Irno river;
  • Atrani (SA), Dragone river mouth;
  • Castellammare di Stabia (NA), Fosso Garibaldi, Beach facing the San Marco river;
  • Torre Annunziata / Castellammare di Stabia (NA), mouth of the Sarno river;
  • Ercolano (NA), Sea facing the mouth of the Vesuvian Lagno;
  • Naples (NA), San Giovanni a Teduccio, Beach 50 meters to the left of the Volla riverbed;
  • Pozzuoli (NA), Lido di Licola, Mouth of the Licola canal;
  • Castelvolturno (CE), Foce Regi Lagni;
  • Mondragone (CE), mouth of the Savone stream.

Emilia Romagna

No pollution was detected at the Legambiente survey points.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Muggia (TS), Mouth canal via Battisti crossroads Largo Caduti per la liberty;
  • Villesse, Downstream of the Gradisca treatment plant;
  • Savogna d'Isonzo, Downstream of the Gorizia treatment plant;
  • Gorizia, Groina River, entry point into the Isonzo.


The coast of the province of Rome is the worst, but ten locations, most of them located on the mouths of waterways, were declared heavily polluted and another three polluted. Among the areas with the highest bacterial values ​​is the Municipality of Cerveteri, near the Fosso di Zambra.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Minturno (LT), Località Scauri, mouth of the Rio Recillo;
  • Minturno (LT), Marina di Minturno, Outlet drainage channel south of the dock;
  • Formia (LT), Gianola locality, Rio Santacroce mouth;
  • Sperlonga (LT), Beach on via Cristoforo Colombo crossing via Andrea Doria;
  • Sabaudia (LT), Selva Piana-Baia d'Argento locality, Lake in front of the canal at the end of Strada Selva Piana;
  • Sabaudia (LT), Canal on Via Orsolini Cancelli;
  • Sabaudia (LT), Canal on Via dei Bersaglieri;
  • Latina (LT), Canal on Litoranea 6260 road;
  • Nettuno (RM), Loricina Canal near via Matteotti;
  • Anzio (RM), Lido dei Gigli, mouth of the ditch Cavallo Morto - seafront of sterlizie;
  • Ardea (RM), mouth of the Fosso Grande;
  • Ardea (RM), Marina di Ardea, Foce Rio Torto, beach side;
  • Pomezia (RM), Torvajanica locality, Crocetta canal mouth (Via Filadelfia);
  • Fregene (RM), Lungomare di Ponente, Mouth of the Arrone river;
  • Cerveteri (RM), Campo di mare, Foce Fosso Zambra;
  • Tarquinia, Lido di Tarquinia locality, mouth of the Marta River;
  • Montalto di Castro (VT), Montalto Marina, Mouth of the Fiora River;
  • Trevignano Romano (RM), Canola, at the crossroads between via della Rena and via San Pietro;
  • Bracciano (RM), Rio della Mole, Foce ditch Grotta Renara;
  • Gradoli (VT), La Grata locality, Mouth of Fosso Cannello or mouth of Fosso Rigo;
  • San Lorenzo Nuovo (VT), Oppietti locality, Fosso il Fiume (Le Vene) / Foce del Fosso Ponticello;
  • Grotte di Castro (VT), Prati Renari locality, Canale in Prati Renari locality;
  • Bolsena (VT), Foce ditch along Viale Luigi Cadorna.


Not even Liguria escapes the verdicts of Goletta Verde. The causes are always the same, ie the presence of bacterial loads that exceed the guard limit. The sad "nomination" of heavily polluted places was won by the locality of Corniglia in the province of La Spezia, Nervi in ​​the province of Genoa and Pietra Ligure, Savona.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Vernazza (SP), Corniglia locality, Rio Corniglia mouth;
  • Chiavari-Lavagna (GE), canal outlet at the mouth of the Entella stream;
  • Genoa (GE), Nervi locality, Nervi torrent mouth;
  • Pietra Ligure (SV), Maremola torrent mouth.


The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Ispra (VA), Mouth of the Acqua Negra stream;
  • Brebbia (VA), Foce stream Bardello;
  • Laveno Mombello (VA), Boesio torrent mouth;
  • Luino (VA), Luino Center - Piazza Garibaldi terrace drainage;
  • Porto Ceresio (VA), Foce rio Bolletta;
  • Porto Ceresio (VA), Vallone torrent mouth;
  • Perledo (LC), Esino torrent mouth;
  • Padenghe sul Garda (BS), Porto, Foce torrente near the port;
  • Desenzano del Garda (BS), Unloading at Spiaggia d'Oro;
  • Castelnuovo del Garda (VR), Ronchi, Rio Dugale dei Ronchi mouth.


Twelve points have been checked on the Marche coasts and only two have exceeded the reference pollution levels. The areas of Porto San Giorgio and san benedetto del tronto were polluted.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • San Benedetto del Tronto (AP), mouth of the Albula stream;
  • Porto San Giorgio / Fermo (FM), Lido di Fermo, Valloscura torrent mouth.


This small region has always been considered an unspoiled corner of our Peninsula, but this is not the case. In recent years, reported cases of illegal spills have increased, especially in the Biferno area, the most important river in Molise. It winds through the region for over 106 kilometers, before ending up in the Adriatic Sea. The river is really very polluted, as waste water is spilled into its waters with massive presence of synthetic chemical compounds mainly from the industrial sector. The absence of adequate water purification plants makes the situation really worrying.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Termoli (CB), North Coast, beach at the Cristoforo Colombo seafront roundabout;
  • Termoli (CB), Sinarca river mouth.


The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Dormelletto (NO), Foce rio Arlasca (purifier drain);
  • Arona (NO), Mouth of the Vevera stream, near the beach via De Gasperi;
  • Arona (NO), Largo caduti Nassirya (Rio San Luigi spillway).


Puglia has accustomed us to almost Caribbean scenarios, with transparent and crystalline sea. Faced with this wonder, we would never think that there could be pollution problems, instead the data speak for themselves. Even if the situation is improving, especially in the sections used for bathing in the provinces of Lecce and Taranto, the problem of polluted waters remains near the mouths of rivers and canals.
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Palagiano (TA), Pino di Lenne Beach, Lenne River mouth;
  • Castrignano del Capo (LE), Marina di Leuca, discharge channel;
  • Brindisi (BR), Apani coastal area, mouth channel c / da Posticeddu;
  • Carovigno (BR), Torre Guaceto locality, Royal canal mouth;
  • Trani (BAT), Boccadoro locality, Boccadoro basin outlet.


The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Buggerru (SU), Portixeddu, Foce rio Mannu;
  • Alghero (SS), San Giovanni, Cristoforo Colombo Bastions near Torre Sulis;
  • Alghero (SS), San Giovanni, Foce watercourse near via Garibaldi;
  • Valledoria (SS), San Pietro a mare, Foce rio Cuggiani;
  • Quartu Sant'Elena (CA), Foxi, Foce rio Foxi.


A sea that could be splendid but which is instead very polluted is that of the Sicily region. Unfortunately, the out-of-limit bacterial loads were detected in 16 points out of 25. What causes all this pollution? It is again the failure to purify the discharges that pour into the sea to threaten the marine waters of the island. According to citizens and tourists, the situation is really at the limit of tolerable, were it not that it risks compromising not only tourism but also and above all the natural beauties of this region. Moreover, several of the points considered highly polluted are very popular with swimmers!
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Terrasini / Trappeto (PA), Contrada S.Cataldo, mouth of the Nocella stream;
  • Terrasini (PA), La Praiola / Peppino Impastato, La Praiola beach;
  • Carini (PA), Chiachea river mouth at the purifier outlet;
  • Palermo (PA), Mouth unloading at A. Diaz;
  • Santa Flavia (PA), Porticello area, Promenade floor;
  • Cefalù (PA), Cefalù pier, beach facing the canal in Piazza Marina;
  • Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto (ME), Località Cantone, mouth of the Patrì stream;
  • Calatabiano (CT), Location San Marco, Alcantara river mouth;
  • Mascali (CT), Sant'Anna locality, Macchia stream mouth;
  • Aci Castello (CT), aci trezza locality, sewer outlet at the beginning of Lungomare Galatea;
  • Syracuse (SR), Porto Grande, Grimaldi canal mouth;
  • Scicli (RG), Arizza locality, Modica river mouth;
  • Gela (CL), Macchitella locality, mouth of the Gattano river;
  • Agrigento, Punta Akragas locality, Akragas River mouth (also known as San Biagio River);
  • Sciacca (AG), Stazzone locality, mouth of the Canzalamone stream;
  • Mazara del Vallo (TP), East promenade, Delia river mouth.


Unfortunately, in Tuscany almost half of the monitored points are polluted. Also here in the viewfinder there are the mouths of rivers, canals and currents that pour exceptional quantities of pollutants into the sea. The critical points are located above all in the north of the region, in particular in the province of Massa-Carrara, where the situation appears more critical. Pollution is particularly noteworthy in Massa (at the mouth of the Brugiano river) and in Partaccia (at the mouth of the Lavello stream).
The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Follonica (GR), mouth of the river Gora;
  • Piombino (LI), Marina di SaliFlights, Focescarico via SaliFlights;
  • Capoliveri (LI), Mola, mouth of the ditch of Mola / central Fossone;
  • Portoferraio (LI), Punta della Rena, Fosso della Madonnina;
  • Marciana Marina (LI), Beach near the fish pier;
  • Viareggio (LU), Lido Camaiore, mouth of the Abate ditch;
  • Pietrasanta (LU), La Focetta, Foce ditch Motrone;
  • Massa (MS), Between Partaccia and Ronchi, Mouth of the Brugiano river;
  • Massa (MS), Partaccia, Foce stream Lavello.


The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Castiglione del Lago (PG), Foce Torrente Paganico;
  • Passignano sul Trasimeno (PG), Le Pedate, Mouth discharge channel of the Tuoro / Passignano treatment plant;
  • Magione (PG), mouth of the Sant'Arcangelo canal.


The Legambiente survey points that revealed severe pollution were:

  • Rosolina (RO), Rosolina Mare, mouth of the Adige river;
  • Castelnuovo del Garda (VR), Ronchi, Rio Dugale dei Ronchi mouth.

The most polluted beaches according to Legambiente

It is not only industrial and sewage discharges that affect the pollution of the Italian coasts. There rudeness and neglect mankind largely contribute to making our beaches real dustbins. THE abandoned waste tourists who are not very attentive to the common civilization have literally invaded some Italian coasts: plastic waste, cigarette butts and metal trash endanger the integrity of delicate marine ecosystems.
As part of the "Clean Beaches and Seabeds - Clean-up the Med" campaign, Legambiente has plumbed the Italian coast to survey the type of garbage most present on the coasts and in the open sea, as well as the density of beach garbage. The study was conducted on a sample of free beaches. The result? The waste most present on Italian beaches are plastic waste (65,4%), then cigarette butts (6,8%) and metal waste (5,9%).
Here the complete report of Legambiente: Beach Litter Legambiente 2019

Note from Legambiente: some clarifications on the data

With reference to the analyzes carried out by the technicians of Goletta Verde along the Italian coast, it is specified that the objective of Legambiente's monitoring, every year, is to focus attention on the risk of pollution caused by the lack or inadequacy of the purification service and the presence of discharges that pour into marine waters. In this regard, the determination of the individual points takes place through the collection of information on the territory by the local clubs of Legambiente and the reports of citizens through the SOS Goletta service.
In recounting the photograph taken by Goletta Verde, Legambiente has never claimed that the coast, nor the entire coastal strips of the individual municipalities are polluted and above all has never given judgments on the bathing ability of the waters. Task carried out by the ARPA in concert with the local administrations, whose data are the reference data available on the website of the Portale delle Acque.
Goletta Verde's analyzes are not representative of the quality of bathing because that is not our goal. We do not assign bathing licenses, as we photograph a situation at a given moment and relating exclusively to the points monitored by our mobile laboratory. The opinion of Legambiente refers exclusively to the points monitored as part of the Goletta Verde campaign, taken in particular near mouths, canals and ditches precisely with the aim of denouncing how even today these are a receptacle for untreated discharges, constituting the main source of pollutants in the sea, as among other things indicated by the directive community that asks to monitor even the points most at risk of pollution and not just to verify the bathing ability of the beaches. The criteria we adopt in determining the sampling points meet this objective.
At this link you can find the overall analysis of 2019: green schooner results

Audio Video The most polluted beaches in Italy
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