Financial Times praises Palermo: “Free from the grip of the mafia, now in the phase of rebirth”

The Financial Times dedicates a long analysis to the “rebirth” of Palermo. “Return to Palermo,” the British financial-economic newspaper titles online. “Once a jewel of the Mediterranean, in the 1980s the Sicilian capital had become dilapidated and dangerous. Now, freed from the grip of the mafia, a rebirth is underway,” is the subtitle.

The report by the FT correspondent from Rome Amy Kazmin traces the different phases of the city, from the “jewel of the Belle Époque,” to the “battlefield for the mafia,” passing through the demographic decline from the peak of 700 thousand inhabitants in 1981, linked to the search for more economic opportunities and greater security. It then tells the stories of various Sicilians, who have returned to live in the city after living elsewhere for many years, with stories and many testimonies to analyze the current situation.

“Today Palermo – the Ft continues – is not yet for the faint-hearted or for those seeking efficiency, after decades of notorious government corruption, when public works contracts were awarded to mafia-linked companies. Public services are poor, bureaucracy is dense, and times are elastic. The number of residents continues to decrease, in line with wider trends in Italy, whose population is aging and declining. Yet newcomers, returnees and young residents are revitalizing a city that is recovering from the reign of mafia terror.”

Palermo, however, “now teems with new initiatives, from coworking spaces for digital nomads to alternative film, theater and literature festivals and art exhibitions. Many of these activities take place in a disused industrial park, whose empty workshops and warehouses have been transformed into lively cultural spaces,” Ft states. “For some, the creative and constructive commitment to a city in constant change is one of Palermo’s strongest attractions,” it continues, emphasizing that “the voids in Palermo could quickly fill up.”

The Ft also notes that in Palermo “tourists are flocking, with about 1 million passengers expected for cruise ships this year, compared to 460,000 in 2017.”

“We can’t say that Cosa Nostra has been completely eliminated, but its grip on the city has been interrupted,” Palermo city councilor Dario Falzone told the newspaper. “The mafia system – he added – is becoming smaller and has a different approach than in the past. It operates in the shadows.”

Il Financial Times esalta Palermo: «Libera dalla morsa della mafia, ora è in fase di rinascita»

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