Many clubs offer free use of equipment and coaching for members. Most clubs meet in the evenings at local sports centres, where basic membership starts at around €30 per year plus around €5 per visit to pay for court hire and equipment.
Squash has a relatively small following in Italy, where there are a small number of squash clubs in major cities (see the yellow pages), and sometimes facilities are also provided at tennis clubs and sports centres.
Specialist clubs may require you to be a member, but often you can hire a court without joining. Squash courses or individual sessions of instruction are usually provided, typically costing around €20 for a 45-minute lesson.
Table tennis is popular throughout Italy, where tables and bats can be hired for a nominal cost at sports centres and other sports clubs, e.g. tennis and squash clubs, and tournaments are organised at all levels and for all ages.
Table tennis tables are also provided in social and other clubs, and even on beaches in summer.
Tennis is by far the most popular racket sport, where there’s a wealth of both public and private courts available. Italian tennis clubs usually operate on a membership basis, so you need to join or be invited as a guest by a member, and membership can be expensive.
There are also public facilities in most towns and cities owned by the commune ( comune), where you can hire (rent) a court by the hour or obtain a season pass ( abonnamento abbonamento).
Tennis is a popular after-school activity for children and tennis lessons are widely available for all ages and standards, including residential courses. Most courts are clay ( terra rossa) or hard (asphalt).
If you want to find a club in a particular area, contact the Italian Tennis Federation, Federazione Italiana Tennis (www.federtennis.it). Professional tennis enjoys a large following and the country stages a number of top tournaments, including the Italian Open, which is held in Rome in May (on clay) and is the precursor to the French Open.
The country has had reasonable success in international events and has a number of top male and female players.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Italy. Click here to get a copy now.