The annual ranking that determines the Italian cities with best quality of life has just been published and reveals some unexpected results this year.
The 23rd edition of the survey conducted by newspaper Italia Oggi and Rome’s La Sapienza University sees Parma in Emilia-Romagna grab the top spot, gaining 38 positions (it placed 39th in 2020).
Why such a jump?
The main reasons are likely due to to the ability to react to and recover from the pandemic and to the investments made for Parma Capital of Culture 2020; the city has achieved high scores in all nine parameters evaluated by the survey (business and work, environment, social and personal hardship, education and training, population, income and wealth, safety, health and leisure), earning the top spot in four of them (income, safety, work opportunities, leisure activities).
The Emilian city undermined Trento and Pordenone, which alternated at the top of the ranking in recent years; for 2021, they placed respectively second and ninth. Crotone in Calabria is the city with the worst quality of life, preceded by Naples, Foggia (Puglia) and Syracuse (Sicily).
It is also interesting to note that most big cities in northern Italy jumped several spots to the top of the ranking: besides Bolzano, which is often in the top ten and this year has gone from eighth place to third, Bologna has climbed 23 positions, from 27th to fourth, Milan is fifth from 45th last year, Trieste went from 40th to seventh, and Florence from 31st to sixth.
This is mainly because the large urban areas of northern Italy have shown the greatest resilience against the pandemic, and indeed the country’s economic recovery seems to have begun right from the major urban areas of north-central Italy.
Rome on the other hand did not do well, the only major city to be out of the top performing group, even losing positions, going from 50th to 54th place.
What has remained unchanged is the gap between the north and south of Italy. Only ten cities from the north are in the lower half of the ranking. Southern Italian cities scored badly especially on public services. Matera is the first southern Italian city in the ranking, placing 55th.
Overall, the report describes quality of life as ‘good' or ‘acceptable’ in 63 out of 107 cities, up from 60 last year.