Sicily, a Portrait of Italian Dysfunction

Plagued by debt and a bloated public sector, Italy's largest region is on the brink of fiscal collapse
Photograph by Antonio Melita/Demotix/Corbis

Giarre, a town in eastern Sicily, sits above the sea on the slopes of Mount Etna. It was once a famous collection point for the wine produced on the hills above, which was rolled down its main street in barrels to the port below. Today, Giarre bears a far more dubious distinction. The city of 27,000 hosts the largest number of uncompleted public projects in the country: 25 of them, nearly one for every 1,000 inhabitants. So spectacular is the waste that some locals have proposed promoting Giarre’s excess as a tourist attraction.

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