The beach at La Rocca di Manerba seems to be frequented by those seeking naturism. We have researched this beach – in more ways than one! From our investigations, we understand that it is illegal to be nude in a public place in Italy. One website makes the following statement
“Whilst there have been several naturist beaches in Italy for many years, Italian law has only recently got around to officially recognising them, Now that it has, you will find signs with ‘Inizio area riservata alla practica del naturismo’ printed on them. The signs are erected at the beginning and end of the areas officially designated as naturist and translate into English as: ‘This is the beginning of an area reserved for the practice of naturism.’ Going naked elsewhere in Italy could land you in trouble.”
Further investigations locally seem to suggest that the local authorities at Manerba del Garda will not tolerate naturism on the beach and may impose a fine of 516 euro. Another source however indicated the fine was 900 euro!
Anyway, for those wishing to visit the beach, here are the directions.
Starting from Manerba del Garda, head towards the Splendid Sole Hotel. Once there, keep walking so that you pass the hotel and it’s swimming pool on your left, heading towards a road called “Via Agello”. From Via Agello, make your way towards the San Giorgio Chiesa (church). As you approach the church, you will see the view as shown below.
With the church in front of you, turn left, so the small yellow sign for the church is on your right hand side. Walking forwards, you will pass residential housing on your left. After a short distance, you come to a crossroads – a small road to the left and also a fairly wide gravel path to your right.
Take the path to the right. Keep moving straight forward and you will come to a newly built “area di sosta/rest area” which also has adjacent cycle parking.
There is also a newly added route map on display in Italian and English languages. The route map features the walk/cycling route from La Pieve to Lonato and the whole of this route is marked out on trees with a red and white stripe. The route is shown as red on the maps.
From the picnic bench and signing, walk forward a few yards and you will then have a field in front of you, with a right turn just prior. Take the right turn – you will see a red and white market post with the letters FKK on it.
Freikörperkultur (FKK) is a German movement whose name translates to Free Body Culture. It endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living. The letters FKK can be found on the approaches to various naturist beaches throughout Europe. Note, the beach at La Rocca di Manerba is sign posted as FKK. This does not have any reference to “riservata alla practica del naturismo” – (see above). Consequently, it should be assumed that the area is not approved by the Italian authorities as an area for naturism.
Follow the FKK signs and you will reach an old doorway, see below…
From here the walking becomes a little tricky. Whilst there are paths, there are a few narrow places. Be aware you may encounter snakes and of course, many small lizards. We have witnessed snakes on one visit to the beach, but this was after a heavy rain shower and so the damp conditions may have encouraged the snakes out of the hiding places. The walk to lake level from the doorway takes about ten minutes.
The beach area is made of pebbles of various sizes and also some large boulders. Some with flat surfaces that are ideal for laying on!
Unlike many beaches that are busy with tourists, the beach at La Rocca di Manerba is fairly quiet. As such, there are no cafes or toilet facilities. You will need to take your own packed lunches and drinks etc.
The lake can however act as a cooler for drinks. We placed a pile of pebbles around our bottles to keep the soft drinks cool!
The beach is fairly busy – but not packed and jammed at weekends but a lot quieter during the week. It seemed that naturism was “the norm” during the week but at weekends, most bathers kept some swimwear on.
La Rocca di Manerba – who goes there?
The area appears to be frequented by both homosexual and heterosexual couples and singles.
For those visiting the beach at La Rocca di Manerba it is probably worth investing in a folding cool back for drinks and snacks etc.