For the third year in a row statisticians wrote a love letter to Bevagna, a medieval hamlet in Umbria, naming it highest for standard of living in Italy.
Research institute Censis studied over 100 cities and towns throughout Italy, finding many of them like Milan and Rome growing and dynamic but choked by traffic and smog or small but drained of life in the city center.
Censis president Giuseppe De Rita says he fell for Bevagna in 2001, after attacks on the Twin Towers. “We were all expecting a world war and it occurred to me that this war would never come to a place like Bevagna, ” he commented in the cities report.
With good reason: many Italians would be hard pressed to locate it on a map, although Bevagna lies 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Perugia and about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Rome. This walled city with a population of 4,700 features Roman baths with mosaics, an arena, nearly a dozen historic churches and plays host to a medieval market in June.
De Rita coined the awkward term “bevagnization” to describe what Italian towns should strive for: a place where one can walk to work, let children play in the streets and leave the front door unlocked but with a vital trade in tourism.
Bevagna, close to where St Francis is said to have preached to the birds, made a rare appearance in the national news recently for allowing locals to shoot pesky pigeons cluttering up the city center.
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*image courtesy @ copyright city of Bevagna
Bill Thayer’s extensive photo journal of Bevagna (English)