Skip to main content
Log in

Multi-month sedimentological characterization of the backshore of an artificial coarse-clastic beach in Italy

  • Coastal Protection
  • Published:
Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In this paper, a sedimentologic characterization of an artificial coarse-clastic beach at Marina di Pisa (Tuscany, Italy) is carried out within a 5 month timespan (October 2018–February 2019). The beach was built in 2007 as a form of coastal protection due to severe erosion processes occurred along this sector of the coast in the past 150 years. The grain-size characterization was performed using pyDGS, a digital grain-size analysis software developed by Buscombe (2013). It is an open-source Python framework that uses a continuous wavelet transform method to calculate grain-size parameters (e.g., mean grain size, sorting) from images. By matching grain-size data with the topographic evolution of the beach provided by DGPS surveys of the backshore, we pointed out a seaward shift of coarser pebbles after medium-energy events (max significant wave height about 3 m). This trend suggests that wave reflection processes onto the seawall are generated during those events, producing a significant cross-shore transport of pebbles along the backshore. Such reflection processes had already been reported in the scientific literature during higher energy wave states though, which means that the artificial beach had decreased the protection level over time. These observations might be useful for coastal managers to optimize future coarse-clastic beach fill interventions. Digital grain-size analysis proved to be reliable and less time-consuming compared to traditional techniques, such as dry-sieving grain-size analysis and caliper measurements. Further improvements are still required specially to extend the survey in the underwater environment.

Graphic abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

(retrieved from the Centro Funzionale di Monitoraggio Meteo Idrologico—Idraulico, Regione Toscana website,

Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


The authors would like to thank Marco Mencaroni, Giacomo Bruno, and Dr. Matteo Vacchi for their great, priceless support during the fieldwork activities at Marina di Pisa. Renzo Gadducci helped out with technical support during DGPS surveys. AT provided the aerial picture of the beach (shot on October 15th, 2018). DB was granted the financial support for this work within the project “PRA_2018_41 Georisorse e Ambiente” awarded to Dr Simona Raneri. Wave data were retrieved from the Centro Funzionale di Monitoraggio Meteo Idrologico—Idraulico (Regione Toscana) website.


This study was funded by the project “PRA Georisorse e Ambiente” (Grant number PRA_2018_41) awarded to Simona Raneri.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Duccio Bertoni.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bertoni, D., Dean, S., Trembanis, A.C. et al. Multi-month sedimentological characterization of the backshore of an artificial coarse-clastic beach in Italy. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 31, 65–77 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: