north and south Italy one

The North-South Divide, 1



ideal conjure steamboat
claim identify division (2)
vote prop up divide (2)
MEP recovery public holiday
waste support waste time
crisis fine (2) celebration
bridge birth (2) suspend (2)
fade railway suspension
pile share (3) those in power
blame field (2) unemployed
Mafia rubbish find/found/found
unite graduate choose/chose/chosen
gang laundry money laundering
divert challenge exhibition
extend view (3) convenient
palace reach (2) prosperous
face up influence regardless
league public (2) explore (2)
exist attempt unification
scarce showcase work at it
common corruption






Italy conjures images of the good life: sun, great food, and of course, love.

But that romantic ideal is not reality. One-hundred and fifty years on from the country’s birth, and there are still divisions between the wealthy North and the poor South.

Northern League members of the government claim the North props up the South. They voted against having a public holiday.

Mario Borghezio, Northern League MEP: “We don’t want these celebrations to waste time; we need to support economic recovery and face up to the crisis in our country.”

In the southern city of Naples, the country’s first steamboat, suspension bridge and railway were built. But now it’s faded, and more famous for piles of uncollected rubbish.

Jobs are scarse, and in the ten years that Livia Colonnese graduated, she’s never found a job in her chosen career, teaching. She blames those in power.

Livia Colonnese, Unemployed Teacher: “They all agree to use the south of Italy as the rubbish place, or to keep us poor, with no jobs, because it’s convenient for them, for their business.”

The South is also where the Mafia is strongest. The criminal gangs’ money laundering and corruption diverts much-needed cash out of the legal economy. The Mafia’s influence here also doesn’t help how the South is viewed by the North.

Of course, the Mafia’s reach does extend north, but here in Turin, Italy’s first capital, it’s just not as big a problem, and life for more people is prosperous.

Turin’s the center of events marking unification. Exhibitions showcase fine palaces and fine art.

Others explore the North-South divide.

Walter Barberis, Historian: “Italian identify doesn’t exist. What exists is an attempt to unite Italy since 1861, we’ve been working on it for a hundred-and-fify years, and we continue to work at it.”

Regardless of whether Italians feel united or not, they all share a common future. The challenge may be in how best to move forward together.


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1. To outsiders, does Italy have a positive or negative image?

2. Is Italy a completely homogeneous, unified nation? Are there any regional differences?

3. Southern Italy is economically completely independant and viable. Is this right or wrong?

4. Is there full employment in the south of Italy? Is it easy to get a job there?

5. According to the unemployed teacher, southern Italy is poor because the people are lazy, disorganized, undisciplined and irresponsible. Is this correct or incorrect?

6. What is a serious problem, according to the journalist?

7. Has Italy always been a single, unified nation?


A. Are there regional differences in your country? Can you think of other regions disparities in other countries and places?

B. Why are there regional disparities?

C. Have things changed over the years?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Are there solutions to this challenge?

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