The Italian coastguard has had it with people leaving towels, chairs, and umbrellas on Italy's beaches overnight in order to save prime spots for the next day.
Along the coast from Tuscany to Sardinia, authorities have begun seizing gear left unattended in the early morning hours and fining those responsible to the tune of 200 euros (about $222), as part of an initiative called Operation Safe Sea.
In Italy, the practice of calling dibs on prime beach territory in this way stretches back to the time just after World War II, when the country experienced a huge wave of tourism. But after years of complaints and scams whereby locals set up towels and umbrellas to rent space to tourists on beaches that are supposed to be free, Italian authorities are saying basta! once and for all.