March 22, 2000 04:45am
No Nudes Is Good Nudes at Italy's Beaches
(ROME) -- Italy's art galleries, magazines and television are full of it, but on Italian beaches, nudity remains strictly off-limits.
Seeking to end this anomaly, Italian politicians unveiled legislation on Tuesday to allow people to strip on the beach as a way to boost tourism.
Italy's parliamentary Social Affairs Commission believes up to 80,000 Italian naturists flee each summer to more liberal neighboring countries.
Italy's highest court has ruled that women could go topless at the beach but bikini bottoms and swimming trunks must stay firmly in place.
The ruling followed a decision by a Tuscan court last year to release a 42-year old German tourist, named only as Herbert H., who was arrested at the Mediterranean seaside town of Massa after being caught sunbathing in the nude.
Herbert now faces a retrial.
``My bill is the best response to the pious humbug from the Supreme Court,'' said Sauro Turroni, a member of the Greens party, whose project drew wide cross-party support in the commission.
``There is nothing revolutionary about it, it just brings our country into line with the reality of other European countries,'' he told reporters.
The bill calls on local authorities to set aside clearly defined areas of their beaches for naturists to use.
Naturism is common across much of Europe -- most notably in Germany, where it is not unusual to find people sunbathing in the nude in city center parks.
In Italy, female nudity is used in advertising to sell almost anything, naked girls are regularly grace the cover of news magazines to boost circulation and late local night television is riddled with soft porn.