Tough times in Southern Italy “when the sky forgets to be blue”

vico equense

Above: the marina at Vico Equense, Naples province (image via Dave Does the Blog’s Flickr, Creative Commons).

Doing some research for a writing project over the weekend, I became obsessed with Vico Equense, a small town with roughly 21k inhabitants on the Gulf of Naples.

A Google search had swiftly led me Vico Equense Online, a blog devoted to the township and the people who live there. Yesterday, when I set about searching for info on the town, the day’s blog post was devoted to an interview with 36-year-old Maurizio Cinque, an independent politician who just finished serving his first year as the town council’s president.

I was so moved by what he had to say that I decided to translate an excerpt from his reflections on 2013.

According to the most recent data I could find, unemployment in Italy is currently 12.5 percent. Youth unemployment (15-24 years) is a staggering 41.2 percent (in the U.S., youth unemployment is 16 percent and overall unemployment has fallen to 7 percent).

As I return to work and begin blogging about Italy and Italian wines again, I feel it’s important to remember that Italians — grape growers and winemakers among them — are facing some serious and seemingly insurmountable challenges on their road to recovery. I hope you’ll find this young politician’s view of the world from the fiords of Naples province as moving as I did…


There’s no doubt that 2013 was a very difficult year for all of us. In many ways, it was a “very unusual” year for the world and for Vico Equense.

In 2013, we saw two Popes in the Vatican.

We saw how a political party [the Five Star Movement] can become the top party simply by means of vaffanculo [saying f&*% off].

We saw how one can “rise” and one can “fall” rapidly in politics.

We saw how the right and the left can govern together even after years of insulting one another.

We saw how you can “lose” by winning elections.

For the first time, the President of the Italian Republic was re-elected [Giorgio Napolitano].

After 25 years, Berlusconi orchestrated the birth of a pacification government, was convicted [of tax fraud], and then was expelled from the senate.

Suddenly in 2013, the political parties nearly simultaneously elected “young secretaries.”

In 2013, Nelson Mandela died, Andreotti died, and Vico Equense elected a 36-year-old township council president.

But there’s no doubt that these times of financial crisis and economic difficulties affect many of us in different ways, including here in Vico Equense.

We’re trying to offer support to families with numerous initiatives. We’re trying to help small businesses and merchants who are living in terrible times. We’re there for artisans and we’re ready to work with them and hear their ideas. We’re there for the many young people who can’t find work and the workers who have lost their jobs…

In 2014, I’m appealing to young people, asking them not to lose hope and not to give up. I’m asking them to keep on fighting for their dreams even when it seems that “the sky has forgotten to be blue.”

Maurizio Cinque
Vico Equense Township Council President

2 thoughts on “Tough times in Southern Italy “when the sky forgets to be blue”

  1. I love Vico Equiense. It’s so easily accessible via the circumvesuviana. We often stay there when visiting Naples (Naples by day, VE by night). It’s a good base for Sorrento as well.

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