Worse than NAPLES???By
There was a story in the Gazzettino a few days ago of a very interesting, even if amazing, inconceivable, really embarrassing revelation:
Cheating the State: The Brunetta Report Shows that the Veneto is Worse than Naples
Renato Brunetta (Venetian, as it happens, and touted as a new contender for the next mayoral election) is currently toiling away in Rome as the Minister of Public Administration and Innovation, which also concerns itself with financial transparency. I sense the urge to make a disquisition on the ongoing bulletins from the Guardia di Finanza (the Finance Police) which, among other things, is always on the hunt for tax evaders. They are bulletins from a quest compared to which the search for the philosopher’s stone is as nothing. But I’ll just stick to this story; it’s enough for you to know that tax evasion is ubiquitous. Shocking, I know.
You should also know, if you haven’t intuited it, that any place south of Rome (Naples, Sicily, etc.) is generally scorned by those in the North as being a quagmire of corruption, where waste and crime cling to each other like doomed lovers on a cliff. At the same time, people in the North (especially those belonging to the political party, the Northern League, who have made a religion of decrying the South) are convinced that only Northerners embody the best traits of any Italian groupage — industrious, independent, no nonsense, no slacking, real workers with real results.
The fact that a northern Region could be worse than Naples is pretty hard to grasp. But the numbers don’t lie.
Here are some details of the research over the past five years:
Worst: Sicily. Better not to comment, I’ll merely observe that this did not come as a surprise to anyone.
Next worst: Veneto.
Next worst: Lombardia. (A second blow to the North, it being the Region next door to Veneto and home to Milan, a city which some people believe was stolen at birth from Germany or Switzerland, in terms of attitude.)
In descending order from there: Campania and Puglia (South), Piemonte (oops, North again), and Calabria (South).
The Veneto’s sins are of the private-entrepreneur type: 773 fraud, 32 corruption, 27 bribery, 264 abuse of authority, and 65 misappropriation of funds (I think that’s also called embezzlement). All transgressions which could be interpreted as “Well nobody actually got hurt.”
While we’re on the subject, here’s the rest of the rundown:
Puglia: Most cases of embezzlement.
Campania (Naples): Most cases of abuse of authority.
Lombardia (Milan): Most cases of corruption and bribery.
Grand totals over 5 years: More than 20,000 crimes scattered liberally across the Boot. Fraud: 6,000 cases. Embezzlement (of State as well as EU funds): 3,000, Abuse of authority: 5,700.
I don’t know if any of this strikes anyone but me as droll — I mean, that the North shares just about equal dishonors with everybody else here in the Cradle of the Renaissance. I suppose the ordinary Venetian on the street would have assumed that anyone who gets the chance is going to cut a corner, but would have thought Northerners were at least more clever in concealing it.
In any case, the thought of somewhere in the North outranking Naples is pretty startling. Now all I need to do is find out how the news has struck the Neapolitans. If I were them I’d be laughing like crazy.
I wanted to pass along this information because I think it’s useful to recalibrate one’s stereotypes every so often.