Jobless young Italians abandon charms of south

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If you venture as far south in Italy as Basilicata you might be excused for wondering why any locals would ever wish to leave.

It has Italy’s largest national park, pristine water, mountains, clean air and great fruit and veg.

But leave they do – especially the young. Italy’s youth unemployment rate of 31% is the third-highest in the EU, after Greece and Spain. In Basilicata it is 38%.

For more than a century the south – what Italians call the Mezzogiorno – has been identified with poverty, the mafia and an exodus of people looking for work and a new life in the north or beyond.

In Roman times the poet Horace described how he relished the wines of Basilicata – then called Lucania. But he too became part of the ancient south’s brain drain and moved to Rome

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