TRAVEL GAZETTE – Three northern cities could boast the best quality of life in Italy this year, and the second best was Milan, the country’s main business hub, which outperformed the capital Rome by far, a survey showed on Monday.
The medium-size city of Bolzano in the far northeast ranked first, followed by Milan and Trento, according to the annual quality of life composite index released by Il Sole 24 Ore business daily.
Rome was outdistanced, ranking 16th this year from 12th in 2014.
Other big cities in the country also performed better than the capital, and especially Florence (4th), and Bologna (12th) in central Italy.
The survey took into consideration Italy’s 110 major cities and their respective administrative districts, also known as provinces.
It analyzed them according to six sections: namely, standard of living, public services and environment, business and employment, public order, population, and leisure.
Each section comprised six indicators: for example, the standard of living section was made of average household wealth, value added per capita, average pension level, households spending, spending for tourism abroad, and average house prices.
The excellent score of Bolzano in the northeast Trentino Alto Adige region was somehow expected, since the city has long been known for its high standards of living and often ranks among the top 10 in both domestic and international indexes.
In fact, Bolzano ranked 1st for three times in the last 10 years, according to Il Sole 24 Ore.
In 2015, Bolzano reached good results according to most standards. For example, “it showed 71 percent employment rate against a national mean of 56 percent,” the research’s authors stressed.
It also registered 5.7 percent of non-performing loans (less than 1/3 compared to the country’s average ratio), and a household spending of 2,660 euros, some 700 euros more than the national mean.
Yet, the real surprise came with Milan, according to the survey.
Italy’s major business center, and capital of the Lombardy region, ascended the ranking from the 8th position in 2014 up to the 2nd this year, improving in all six sections of the ranking but public order and, only slightly, business and employment.
More specifically, Milan ranked among Italy’s top five in indicators such as average household wealth, years of education, mobile broadband coverage, disposal of civil cases, and spending of foreign tourists.
It also performed well in average pension level, value added per capita, ratio of non-performing loans, average life expectance, childcare availability, and spending for tourism abroad.
Rome performed poorly in comparison, losing four positions in the general ranking from last year.
Indeed, the Italian capital slipped to 41st from 34th in 2014 in the standard of living section.
It also ranked 32nd against 9th in 2014 in business and employment, and 24th against 5th in 2014 in population, which included indicators such as population density, life expectance, and years of education.
However, Rome improved in terms of leisure opportunities and public services and environment, ranking 2nd and 50th, respectively, against 13th and 57th last year, the survey said.
At the bottom of the index came Reggio Calabria, capital of the southern Calabria region, which performed especially badly in services and environment (108th), business and employment (106th), and standard of living (108th).