Poor But Beautiful
South Italy is largely based around agriculture and the cities tend to suffer from massive unemployment that has sent much of the younger generation north in search of jobs, cosmopolitan culture and a break from mama.
Italy also becomes more beautiful by degrees as you head south though and cheaper, too. There’s less tourism, the people become warmer and more direct and the only real drawback is the conservative mindset that dominates the values. Suits the old fashioned traveler.
Napoli, or Naples, is the biggest city in the south and the most notorious. Street crime has soared dramatically in recent years making it one of the less attractive places to visit unless you want to just soak up the famous Italian exuberance that comes naturally to Napoleons. It’s not the kind of place where you want to be wandering around with a backpack and a guidebook open at the maps page.
Between Rome and Napoli you have the famous Amalfi coast which is crumbling away fast thanks in part to all the tourism it receives so it’s worth taking a look before they start charging fees to come and visit.
Sicily is a favourite holiday spot for many Italians during August and you could spend months exploring the hidden beaches, mountain villages and good walking. Sicilians aren’t known for their outgoing behaviour though and take some time to warm up to newcomers.
The Mafia really does exist in Sicily in a big way and many Italians cite its existence as reason for not living there. No one is going to put a horse’s head in your sleeping back if you travel there but were you to try and open a small business, for example, you would certainly need the (paid) favour of the local don.
Palermo is the biggest city and is the kind of place that you want to keep an eye on your wallet and handbag. You might have more fun in Catania, a university town whose sky is often choked by the nearby smoke of Mount Etna.