On my way down the east coast of Italy, I spent two nights in a town I’d only just heard of: Rimini. It rained all morning. I walked to the beach anyway.
Just before I’d reached the ocean, I stumbled upon a village of beach clubs. Each of them had a strong theme of colours, design, and personality. Some were heavily centred on children’s plastic playgrounds, some impersonated vintage fishing villages, some were built for the discerning cocktail lover. Each of them had a series of painted change-rooms in rows, and an elaborate entry sign.
And all of them were washed up in sand, abandoned for winter, and totally empty.
It was like stepping into a ghost town, or a movie set, or an eerily uninhabited Sims game — with the occasional frisbee or colourful toy football sitting in a puddle, as though everyone up and left quite suddenly. It was also some form of heaven for vintage surf memorabilia, mosaics, and handpainted signs.
I’ve since looked up Rimini’s beach clubs. Clearly the abandonment is temporary and seasonal. Maybe it’s worth a visit all year round? If not for the beachside cocktails, for the most beautifully designed ghost town you’ll ever see.