Legambiente, Italys environmental watchdog, has released figures and information on the quality of life in the 103 provincial capitals throughout the country. The report took into account the quality of the air, systems of rubbish collection, the efficiency of the public transport, the presence of green spaces, parks and gardens, the availability of water and the use of alternative energy. The city of Mantua came out top, having the best all round environmental quality of life, followed by Bolzano, Lecco, Trento and Verbania; all five cities are in the north. The last five cities on the list were all in the south: Vibo Valentia, Nuoro, Catania, Enna and Trapani. The first southern town on the list, Matera in Basilicata, came in at 25, well ahead of the major cities, all of which did badly; Rome was 68 on the list, Genoa at 70, Turin at 73, Naples at 75, Milan at 82 and Palermo at 86. Traffic problems are the reason for the cities getting such low ratings. According to the report, there has been a fall of four per cent in the use of public transport and a corresponding increase in the use of private cars since 2003. Last year there were four private cars registered for every birth.

Legambiente did note several improvements in the past ten years the Italians enjoy more public parks and gardens, rubbish recycling has increased four times in the north, and more towns and cities are protecting their historic centres by closing special areas to traffic. For the full report see: www.legambiente.com.

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