A vendor walks alongside sunbathers on the sands of Lido di Ostia, Rome’s nearest beach, on July 17, 2012. A law established in 2006 guarantees free public access to the country's beaches, but the state has ceded an increasing number of sandy stretches into the hands of private operators, from 5,568 in 2001 to 12,000 today. The issue has come to the fore as increasing numbers of the public demand unrestricted access. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO        (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/GettyImages)