by Alessandra Cardone
ROME, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Boosted by a business-friendly environment, good public services, and a rich leisure time offer, Milan ranked first for quality of life among Italian cities, according to an annual survey on Monday.
The northern city topped the ranking for the second year in a row, according to the quality of life composite index unveiled by business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
It was followed by Bolzano and Trento, and by Aosta, all of them medium-sized cities located in the northeast and northwest of the country respectively.
Rome ranks 18th this year, yet showing an improvement compared to the 21st position registered in 2018 and the 24th in 2017.
Overall, the survey’s authors highlighted almost all of Italy’s big cities, regardless of their specific weaknesses and strong points, performed better than the previous year.
Such assessment concerned for example Turin, Genoa, and Venice in the north, Florence and Parma in central Italy, and the southern cities of Naples, Bari, and Cagliari (regional capital of Sardinia island).
The only exception of this trend was the central city of Bologna, which fell from the 7th in the ranking in 2018 to the 14th this year.
The good performance of Milan — which has constantly improved its ranking in the last 29 years, moving from the 39th position in 1990 to the first in 2018 and 2019 — did not come only from its openness to business and employment, Il Sole 24 Ore stressed.
It was also thanks to its sensitiveness towards environmental issues, for providing residents with ever more smart services, and for offering one of the most lively leisure and culture time across the country.
Milan Mayor Beppe Sala wrote on Facebook he was “happy and proud” of the result. Nonetheless, he warned there were at least three areas on which the city had to work and improve.
“First of all, the benefits originated by this positive phase must reach a larger portion of our citizens, and with this I mean more social justice,” Sala explained.
“I am fully aware of the difference (in life quality) between the center of the city and its suburbs.”
He added Milan also needed to improve in terms of gas emission levels, and of real estate offer for middle and low-income households. “We register a lack of flats for rent at affordable prices, but on this I would like to point out that 12-13 billion euros (13-14.4 billion U.S. dollars) in investments on the real estate are incoming,” the mayor added.
Il Sole 24 Ore’s survey is carried out every year, taking into consideration 107 Italian cities and their respective administrative districts, also known as provinces.
It is based on official statistics — such as those provided by National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), Bank of Italy, the Interior and Justice Ministries, for example — along with data by research institutes and sectorial business groups (for example, on local real estate market or number of start-ups).
It analyzed the cities’ life according to six sections: wealth and consumption, business and employment, demography and society, environment and public services, justice and public order, and leisure.
In order to make the overall picture as reliable as possible — being the concept of “quality of life” rather elusive — the newspaper increased the number of indicators from 45 to 90 this year.
This also allowed the research to highlight specific excellences in the various cities, beyond their specific position in the general ranking.
Thus, Naples (81st in the ranking) resulted as Italy’s first city for number of e-commerce firms, Trieste (5th) the first for number of public libraries, residents’ average education level, and water depuration, and Rome (18th) for the highest average pension amount in the country.