Entrance to Bagni Lido, Ardenza, Livorno
Being a port and a fairly big town, Livorno's coastline does not offer much in the way of sandy beaches. South of the old shipyards begins a series of Bagni catering for a good percentage of the locals from June to September. A bagno is a private bathing area, a kind of beach club or lido, providing a whole range of facilities, from sun loungers and umbrellas to beach huts, snack bars, toilets, showers, lifeguards, pedaloes, football, and in some cases swimming pools and evening entertainment. Actual beach areas are limited in the bagni, and usually consist of a small man-made area of sand used by small children. Swimming is done from the rocks or the concrete platforms built along the coast.
The Livornese have their favourite bagno and many buy a season ticket which allows them to have their own spot with umbrella and sunbeds which they occupy every day, or part of every day, often well into the evening.
You can also pay a daily entrance fee (about €5) to one of the bagni, but this price does not include a bed or umbrella.
For families, the bagni are ideal. They are easy to get to and offer all the necessary facilities and an enclosed and relatively safe area for children. If you are a regular customer, you can leave all your beach gear in your cabina. Everyone gets to know each other and keeps an eye on the small ones.
However, the bagni are usually very busy and noisy, and may not be everyone's idea of 'going to the beach'.