Italians have no shortage of studies to choose from that rank towns and cities on their quality of life. But not everyone agrees with the methodology of these studies, and now one Catholic newspaper has created a new study that claims to rank cities based on the “real” quality of living, based on what it says are less “materialistic” metrics.
“Money doesn't equal happiness, and well-being is not only material,” wrote the Catholic daily Avvenire. “What then does living well in a city mean?”
“Per capita wealth, economic development and employment opportunities are an important part but not at all exclusive, and indeed, when not well governed, can even be counterproductive,” the study's authors wrote.
The Ben Vivere (good living) study ranks cities on factors such health, business opportunites, level of environmental protection, life satisfaction levels and “the capacity to welcome and protect life in its various forms.”
But though its methodology may be a little different from those of other studies, the results don't differ much.
Like other studies, it found that the town of Bolzano is the best place to live in Italy, closely followed by another northern city, Trento.
Pordenone and Florence came third and fourth respectively, followed by Parma, Pisa, Milan and Bologna.
Screenshot: the Ben Vivere ranking by Avvenire.
All those named in the top ten are in the north or centre-north of Italy.
Rome came in 40th, while the bottom of the chart was dominated by southern towns including Reggio Calabria, Naples and Crotone.
As well as a lower overall quality of life in the south, the study showed other trends such as the fact that medium-sized population centres seem to offer a better overall quality of life than big cities.
This seems to echo the findings of another annual study by financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, released in January, one of those using more typical methodology, which has named Bolzano as the place with the best quality of life in Italy for the third year in a row, and ranked the same towns in the top ten, or close.
The authors of Ben Vivere also pointed to their “paradoxical” findings that high-scoring cities like Trento, Bolzano, Milan also suffered higher rates of alcoholism, mental illness and suicide.
Avvenire has published the results and data online, sorted by parameter, saying it hopes to help users find the perfect place to live.