Italian beach concessions: towards a sustainable epilogue for the natural heritage and the coastal economy?


This article illustrates recent developments in the law applicable to concessions of State-owned maritime property in Italy, highlighting issues of constitutional significance. It focuses first of all on the relationship between national law and EU law, following the “twin judgments” adopted by the Plenary Session of the Council of State in November 2021. By applying a consolidated framework, these decisions appear to have brought national law into line with the Promoimpresa judgment of the European Court of Justice, issued in 2016. The essay will then analyse the proposed reform approved by the Council of Ministers on 15 February 2022, considering whether it strikes a balance between competition and other public and private fundamental interests engaged. The author argues that this reform would not only resolve the contrast with EU law but might also provide an opportunity for promoting the sustainable development of national coastal areas, within a context of re-established legal certainty.

1. Concessions of State-owned maritime property for tourist and leisure-oriented businesses before the courts
2. Towards a sustainable epilogue? The Government’s initiative
2.1. Competition and other public interests: environmental and social sustainability
2.2. Economic public interests
2.3. Competition and private interests: incumbent beach undertakings
3. Concluding remarks

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