Italian returnees seize Mezgiorno from epidemic to stop brain drain


In 2014, like many young Italians from poor Italy Twelve o’clock, Mario Mirabail went to the rich north with no intention of ever returning. But when the 26-year-old Sicilian got a chance to take his consulting job back to his hometown, he closed his rental lease, packed his bags and bought a one-way ticket from Bologna to Palermo.

When he didn’t attend digital meetings with colleagues, family and lifelong friends popularized his daily life, he said. He added that Sicilian life is no longer limited to holidays and he is saving a lot of money.

“What was unimaginable a year ago is now a reality,” Mirabail said. “I’m watching my little sister grow up, I can go down to the market, speak the dialect and come back to my desk and in the meantime speak English and Spanish. Realizing a dream of concentrating internationally at home.

Over the years, a group of professional professionals in South Africa have tried to reverse the brain drain that has affected the country’s poorest provinces, which has caught the epidemic and removed the paradigm of work. From the hill town of Castelbuano, a Pale0 minute walk east of Perermo, the consultant co-founded SouthWorking, an association that encourages remote work in the southern countryside and hopes to help stop the erosion trend for its island.

It is assumed that More than 1 million people Moved north from Mezziorno over the past decade. Another drain of foreign immigration: 10 years to 2019, About 900,000 Italians emigratedAccording to official data. That year, more than one-third of the new expatriates came from the South. As a result, the population of southern Italy has shrunk By more than 3 percent Between 2014 and 2020, when it was stable in the prosperous Northeast.

The economic impact has been even stronger as immigrant southerners continue to be more educated: in 2012, more than 40 percent of those over the age of 25 and settlers in the north had at least one university degree, compared to about one in three Italians living abroad.

The epidemic has put a brake on this decade-old trend: Between March and December 2020, when Covid-19 had most of its restrictions, net South-North migration nearly halved compared to the same period last year. During the same period, the number of emigrants from southern Italy dropped by more than a third.

Net Internal Migration column chart, '100 people, shows the internal migration flow in Italy from March to December with the epidemic
Line chart showing illegal immigration of '000 people in Italy

Luca Gustinio, a professor of organizational studies at the LUESS University in Rome, said the epidemic would lead to a profound restructuring of work habits, albeit too early to make long-term decisions.

“It simply came to our notice then. . . There is a kind of coercion and a kind of extreme telecommunication that brings some difficulties, such as feeling isolated or maintaining work-life balance, ”he said.

He warned, however, that in order to truly reverse the brain drain, the public needed to make infrastructural improvements in the South: “In order to work in the South, business needs to be carefully reconsidered, with careful planning.”

The European Union’s recovery fund and a government plan to stimulate the economy of southern Italy offer a unique opportunity to correct the country’s north-south divide, said Mara Carfagna, Italy’s minister for southern and regional integration. Southern Italy will receive 48 per cent of the over-broadband investment as part of the recovery plan.

Lucrezia Martufi

Lucrezia Martufi: ‘I was trapped in an apartment where the helicopter flew over my head and checked to see if anyone was violating Kovid’s ban for silence and peace in the mountains’ © Jacopo Basoli

“If companies can ensure their propensity for smart work and the South is able to quickly narrow the digital infrastructural gap by relying on local realities, it could become a stronger and broader opportunity,” he said.

Recent returnees include Alessandra Ripa, a 38-year-old mathematician who has worked to develop services for various multinationals for online banking and customer analysis, and who recently joined a large technology company as a marketing manager. After 10 years in Milan, he returned to his hometown of Less in a baroque town a few kilometers from the sea in southern South Africa.

“I was a little dissatisfied with my life for a while and began to feel the need to get closer to the sea and nature,” he said. “The first few months I spent on 50 square meters without seeing anyone except my cat was a camel’s back broken hay. I came here after completing 10 years of my life.

Ripa moved to a house in the historic center of Lake, which she bought a few years ago as an investment and used as an airbnb until early 2020. “I felt new,” he said. “The word claustrophobia has disappeared from my vocabulary.”

In the medieval town of Cagli, in the countryside of March, 35-year-old Lucrezia Martufi takes some time to think about her future. After 13 years between Germany and Spain, during the epidemic, he decided to move to an old house in the historic historic center of the village, which he inherited from his mother. He now works remotely as a project director for a translation company

“I was trapped in an apartment when a helicopter flew over my head and checked to see if anyone was violating the Kovid restrictions for silence and peace in the mountains,” he said.

“It helps me understand what’s important in life and I decide to stay here indefinitely for a more peaceful and sustainable way of life even when the big cities offer to work properly,” he said.



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