19 December, 2009

The best place to live in Italy

According to an Italian periodical, the best province in Italy to make a living (in all senses of the word, rather than merely financial) is Trieste. (Tree-ess-teh. The final e is not silent in Italian.)

The full list is here. The province where my mother's family originates, Latina, is #81 on the list. I (used to) have a pen pal who lives in the Cuneo province, #22 on the list (but down from #13 previously).

Everything I knew about Trieste before reading this article can be summarized by two things I read:

  • In 2002 I read Italo Svevo's novel La Coscienza di Zeno (The Conscience of Zeno), which is set in Trieste in the years leading up to the First World War. It's quite a touching novel actually, although I didn't learn much about Trieste proper from it.
  • During the 80s, at least one opinion article written by an Italian Communist expressed outrage that Trieste should even be part of Italy. Italy ought, he wrote, to "return" it to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Okay, I know a little history; maybe Trieste's incorporation to Italy is indeed a consequence of colonialism, imperialism, and/or Fascism. Later, I looked up a little about Trieste, and found that it had never been part of Yugoslavia (unless you count occupation after World War II as incorporation) and the vast majority of the city's population has always been, throughout all of post-Roman history… uhm… Italian.

    Hunh?!?

    Well, maybe not Italian proper (what is an "Italian" anyway?), but certainly not Slavic. Slavs certainly seeped slowly into the surrounding rural and suburban areas over the centuries, just as they did around many Italian-ish towns along the Adriatic coast. In most cases the Slavs seeped into the cities themselves, which is why Ragusa is now called Dubrovnik. But Trieste was not one of these, and in any case the real outrage was that Italy itself wasn't a Communist paradise like all the other countries in Eastern Europe. Had Italy been Communist, the author probably wouldn't have cared where Trieste lay. If not for those stupid, ignorant Catholics who in the first post-war parliamentary elections heeded to their malicious, black-robed clerics and voted Christian Democracy instead of Communist…

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