To anyone: if you're doing a DIY to Italy, be aware that you have to pay for access to the beach, unless yr hotel specifically includes it as part of the deal. There is usually a crap free bit, and also a public bit (jetty) that comes on at 20€ each a day for bed and beach umbrella.
I used to think it was disgraceful that you had to pay for the beach in Italy, but have been to different parts of Italy and realise they just do “going to the beach” differently. If you just want to have a swim, there are parts you can access free.
But if you want to spend the day, as Italian families do, you can choose one of the fenced off sections, pay a fee, and for that you may get a lot more than just sun lounger and umbrella. There are usually changing cubicles, toilets, showers, bar and restaurant with excellent, reasonably priced food. If going to spend a whole day at the beach, it may be worth paying for the facilities.
Some parts of Italy, like the south coast of Sicily have lots of uncrowded, free beaches, other parts are very popular and may be hard to find a decent bit of beach without paying. As OP says, it’s something to be aware of if planning an Italian holiday that involves beach time.
We used to go to Italy regularly over many years to different places each year. yes you always have to pay for a lounger on the beach generally crammed close together in neat lines though there are always bits of less attractive free parts too. Once while staying at a beach hotel we sat down on the sand on its private beach for a short while the children paddled we were moved on. WE WERE GUESTS! The other thing I recall is that their season started on a particular date in mid June and even if it was boiling hot hotels often refused to fill the swimming pool until that date. Don’t misunderstand I loved our Italian holidays and we went to some beautiful places, many happy memories.