This article of Figaro (reserved for subscribers) was published on October 1, 2021, just before the municipal elections in Italy. The French daily explains why the Neapolitans will elect in the first round a certain Gaetano Manfredi, an engineer with no political experience but expected like the Messiah to put the city back on track after years of mismanagement.

Because Naples is in a sorry state: “Despite its few renovated squares (…) among the most beautiful in Europe, the city remains the third world in Europe. The Vittoria tunnel, which is the central axis of the city, is closed after collapsing for lack of maintenance. The gigantic industrial wasteland of Bagnoli has been abandoned for thirty years. The streets are congested, the buildings dilapidated, the gardens invaded. (…) Schools, garbage cans, social housing, police forces, firefighters, public gardens … nothing is maintained“.

This expression, “Third World”, stuck like a chicken bone alla cacciatora across the throats of the Neapolitans. The report is absolutely not contemptuous, just realistic. He also doesn’t forget to say that the city has an Apple Academy. But the Neapolitans are hot-blooded. With – admittedly a little late – the discontent has spread on social networks.

She invited herself in the headlines, she has won all that the city has of notables and celebrities. “We don’t feel offended … but anyway, thank you for avoiding clichés“, gets angry the boss of the powerful Confederation of traders. The barely elected mayor denounces an article”unfair“and reducer.I think of tourists, friends, people from abroad who come here, it means that Naples is really something else. “

In La RepubblicTo
, the French consul called to the rescue also goes there with his verse: “Naples is not the third world, not even in a metaphorical sense. It’s so obvious it shouldn’t even be said. “ Laurent Burin des Roziers reminds us that we are talking “of one of the favorite tourist destinations of the French“(more than 800,000 French people visited Naples in 2018).

But the highlight of the show was Saturday, November 20, at the Parc des Princes, during a football match between PSG and Nantes. As a sign of solidarity, the Parisian supporters deployed a large banner in Italian: “Le Figaro, carta da cesso!“(idiomatic translation:” aux chiottes Le Figaro“)

This controversy has all the same revived a real debate on the debt of the city. Because Naples is ruined. With almost three billion euros in debt at the end of 2020, it has the highest debt per capita in all of Italy. Especially since it is no longer able to collect taxes: there are nearly two billion unpaid fines, taxes and various fees.

Le Figaro also recalls in his article that the new mayor only accepted to apply after the assurance that a national plan to pay off the municipality’s debt would be put in place. The editorialists are unanimous on this point: we did not wait Le Figaro to find out but yes, it is a debt of third world countries.


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