July in Italy means hot summer days, perfect for spending time by the sea. The Mediterranean Sea is not only the safest sea in the world, with less presence of poisonous fish, less occurrence of sea storms, strong currents, waves, etc. It is also a wonderful place in summer for bathing during the summer heat. Being Italy surrounded for the most by the sea, Italians biggest wish in summer is to spend a few days of vacation by the sea. From north to south, and around the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, people on summer vacation do overcrowd the seaside towns, spending the day at the beach and dining “al fresco” in the evening through the latest hours. Then, nothing better for an easier digestion than an ice cream to eat while strolling amid the crowd in the piazza or the trendy streets.
The title here “Abbronzatissima” (very deeply suntanned”) was the catchword of a famous song from the singer Edoardo Vianello in the 60’s, referred to the typical sun tan of the girls of the time as seen on the beaches. The deep suntan made them feel very attractive for the boys in their circle, often being cause for brief but intense summer romances, also called “cotta estiva”. “Prendersi una cotta” means to have a crush on someone. Handsome or not, beach boys working as sea lifeguards usually happen to show the more sun tanned bodies on the beach, and so, they ares typically cause of “cotta estiva” for some girls attending their beach. The year of launch, that song became the hit of the summer, for which the Italians introduced the word “ tormentone dell’estate”, meaning the “torture song of summer”. One could not escape from hearing it wherever one went in public places, especially on the beach, and in every café in town. This song is still very popular, and every Italian knows it.
“A A Abbronzatissima
Sotto i raggi del sole
A due passi dal mare
Abbracciato con te

Sulle labbra tue dolcissime
Un profumo di salsedine
Sentirò per tutto il tempo
Di questa estate d’amor..”
Until the 2nd World War, Italians were shunning the sun from hitting their skin, but after that time, on a trend from the more industrialized countries of North Europe and from the USA especially, to lay on the beach and get suntanned became common practice, especially for young women. The canon of beauty in Italy until then had been for women to keep their skin as pale and milky as possible, which luckily even now is still the beauty ideal here in Japan. In addition, without realizing it, by avoiding sun tanning, women saved it from the danger of skin cancer. In past times, because of their work in the fields for agriculture, only working class people were unable to keep their skin pale. Since the 50’s, the trend for sun exposure has boomed, and especially in summer, women of all ages indulge lying in the outdoors, on the beach or near swimming pools, in order to get duly sun tanned, back and forth, while the danger from sun rays is taken care by using tons of protective creams and oils.
Trends follow one another, and now the younger generations seem proud to show on the beach their bodies, not just suntanned but also marked by tattoos of various sizes. Unfortunately, with tattoos sometimes covering large parts of the body, it is difficult to appreciate the beauty of the skin as it used to be. To each generation its ideal of beauty and its level of torture and taste..
Still, every year the seas surrounding Italy offer unique healing relaxation to everyone. Whether sailing or swimming or just lying on the sand or on the rocks, the song goes on..
“Quando il viso tuo nerissimo
Tornerà di nuovo pallido
Questi giorni in riva al mar
Non potrò dimenticar”