The Blue Flag is an eco-label awarded to the cleanest, safest beaches with good environmental track records. Owned and run by the non-profit organization Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the Blue Flag campaign supports sustainable development at beaches and marinas, monitoring standards in water quality, education, environmental management, and public safety in 41 countries across Europe.

Here are some of our favorite Italian award-winning beaches and marinas in Tuscany (Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, and Viareggio) and Campania (Positano)…plus villa picks nearby:

Tuscany – Blue Flag Beaches in Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, and Viareggio

About the area: If you avoid the August crowds, Forte dei Marmi (or simply “Forte”) is a fashionable, low-profile beach town with a beautiful Blue Flag beach and enticing shops located approximately 1.5 hours NW of Florence. It’s chic, but understated. The beach is accessible via bathing clubs; Alaide and Capri are family-run. Bike rentals are available at Cicli Maggi, a bike shop founded in 1916. It’s a pleasurable spin to nearby Pietrasanta (the medieval town; 3 km inland) and Marina di Pietrasanta (the port), where you can sample renowned biscotti at Fortini and visit marble sculptors’ studios. Viareggio, also a Blue Flag award-winner in 2010, is the main center on the northern Italian riviera. Although very crowded in August (like all beaches in Italy!), it has a beautiful port and historic center, as well as convenient train service to all of Italy’s major cities. Here, sample one of our favorite Versilian specialities: cecina, a chickpea pancake.

Villa picks in Tuscany:

Casa Pietrasanta offers a lush countryside setting with easy access to Pietrasanta (3 km), Forte dei Marmi (10 km), and Viareggio (12 km). It sleeps 6-7, has a swimming pool, and is furnished in an elegant, rustic style.

Tuscany villa with views of Versilian coastline.

Villa Maria is a spacious villa for 6-8 people with pool 3 km from the beach in Viareggio, 13 km to Forte Marmi, and 9 km to Pietrasanta. It’s also 1 km from the village of Piano di Mommio, which offers a good selection of services, and is only 20 km from the beautiful walled city of Lucca.

Campania – Blue Flag Beaches in Positano

About the area: Positano is one of the jewels of the Amalfi Coast. It’s an unbelievably picturesque fishing village and has a Blue Flag beach (Spiaggia Grande; pebbled) and port. There are many charming outdoor cafés and narrow, cobbled alleys and endless staircases to meander. Typical fare highlights all types of seafood and local produce such as lemons, peppers, and tomatoes. Don’t miss the anchovies with mint and garlic! Other popular beaches include Fornilla, La Porta, and Arienzo. There’s also an incredible trail that starts in the mountains above Positano called Il Sentiero degli Dei (Trail of the Gods). It follows a high ridge and ends in Vietri sul Mare, east of Positano.

Villa Picks in Campania:

Brezza di Mare is a charming one-bedroom villa in the village of Montepertuso—a 10-minute shuttle bus ride to Positano. It has a large, private terrace with views of the sea.

Positano villa with views of the sea.

Casa Luna is a 2-bedroom apartment within walking distance of Positano. It has a garden terrace, fragrant with jasmine, that overlooks the sea and village.