Rimini to the test of distancing: “But on the beach it was nice to be close” – La Stampa


FROM THE MAIL TO RIMINI. High sun, 27 degrees. Bulldozer noise. Lifeguard Paolo Crosara, 73, pushes a wheelbarrow loaded with stone slabs and at every effort a silver medal slams on his bare chest. “It’s an old 2 lira coin. My dream is that, at the end of September, at least these will remain in my pocket ». So, then: for 2 lire. To recall ghosts of glories and past beauties, which are everywhere here, the Rimini bathing season started again yesterday. They are putting the catwalks on the longest and widest beach in Italy. Then it will be the turn of the tables, and then of the umbrellas. The rescue service will come into operation on June 13 and “Publiphono Radiomare” will also begin to spread the names of the children who got lost up to Riccione from the loudspeakers. Customer names must be registered for 14 days. If the rules of social distancing do not find application on this geometric and infinite Riviera, they will hardly be able to function elsewhere.

The beaches of Rimini ready to restart but there are fears of damage for 1 billion euros

The strangest season
It is almost summer. In bathroom 39 they have all seen them since 1947. That of the economic boom. The great storm of June 8, 1964. The summer in which the players of Bologna, Italian champion, Haller and Nilesen, came. The heroine summer, with the boys slumped behind here in Marvelli square. The summer of Cocoricò and that of the band of the white One. The mucilage of 1989, when the alga asphyxiated the sea and then it was necessary to invent games out of the water and focus everything on nightlife. But a summer like this one of the coronavirus, the lifeguard Crosara, who unloads stone slabs, cannot even imagine it: “All we have always done in our lives has been putting people together, trying to bring people together. And now, for the first time, they ask us to do the opposite ».

The government protocol says 10 square meters for each umbrella, that of the Region instead 12 square meters. But the municipal protocol could also reach 18. “Because we want to focus on time and space, we don’t want to hospitalize the beach”, says the mayor of Rimini Andrea Gnassi. “We need a change of gear. If mechanics, iron and steel or chemicals are in crisis, it is mobilized halfway around the world. But for tourism there are no structural measures. Yet tourism is a strategic industry for this country. I don’t understand why the government doesn’t take notice. France invests 18 billion, Spain 12, the United Kingdom 25. What about us? Italy leaves its tourist cities alone. Municipalities risk default. Immediate credit support is needed. Support is needed for workers in the sector, who have not yet received layoffs. Bilateral corridors are needed: we, for example, ask for an Adriatic corridor to open with Germany, Austria and Switzerland ».

Some workers who are setting up one of the spaces intended to host umbrellas and other services for tourists

Some workers who are setting up one of the spaces intended to host umbrellas and other services for tourists

Vacationers who aren’t there
Yes, tourists. Those who made the fortune of the Riviera. Even Australians, Chinese, Russians. “For now, only friends from the area are calling us,” says lifeguard Crosara. “I don’t know how it will end.” Nobody knows. In the 2019 season, 3 million and 800 thousand tourists arrived, of which 1 million and 900 thousand only in Rimini. The Emilia Romagna Region has commissioned a study to try to understand what could happen this year. “At best, we expect 40% less Italian customers and 70% less international customers,” says research manager Alessandro Lepri. Translated in a nutshell? “At best, the economic loss will fluctuate between 800 million and 1 billion and 200 million euros. Then there are worse scenarios … ». «We will make it» say the brothers Eugenio and Stefano Sereni who came to see the beach. “Customers are afraid and we have a big responsibility,” says waitress Gaia Galli, 20, in the third working season of her life. The bulldozers have now cleared the beach. Dhe beautiful girls will perhaps bathe, it cannot be said why they are far away in the sea and the water still reaches their life. The lifeguard Paolo Crosara drops the wheelbarrow and goes to detach a photo from the wall of the plant. It’s uncle Carlo, the first at work at Bagni 39. «We were born and raised here, my son Mirco is also learning how to be a lifeguard. We thought we had seen so many stories, but it was a mistake. Three years ago an air horn arrived, one of my umbrellas ended up on the bell tower of the church of Mary Help of Christians. We will also do this season. One way or another».

The myth that sets

Here, where Pier Paolo Pasolini had his first “little adventure” (“She was a student dancer, my age, fourteen, fifteen years old. She was on vacation with the school, that is, with another dozen companions, cute and adventurous as she “), where the king of the Latin lover Zanza Zanfanti emerging from the Blow Up disco made havoc with the tourists and especially with the German girls, right in the Rimini of Fellini and Tondelli, the Grand Hotel and the Pascià, with more and more nights long days, where millions of mouths, hands and bodies met, dancing and sweating, the first Italian bathing season of social distancing, that is of physical distancing, opens. Life as opposed to always. Will Rimini be able to reinvent itself once again?

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