Thursday, February 4, 2010

Village of Riace, Italy Welcomes Refugees

"'City of the Future' Italian Village Welcomes Refugees with Open Arms"

Juliane von Mittlestaedt

"An Italian village is hoping to reverse its population decline by welcoming refugees from around the world. The immigrants get free room and board and are expected to work and learn Italian in return. The project is proving highly successful -- but the local Mafia aren't happy."

"Domenico Lucano, a 51-year-old man, is the mayor of Riace, Italy. The village -- with its three churches, two patron saints, sheep grazing on the surrounding hillsides and tangerine trees growing in the valleys -- is like a corn on the sole of the foot of the Calabria region.

Until recently, Riace was rapidly becoming a ghost town. People had left to find their luck elsewhere -- in Milan, Turin or Genoa, in Germany or the United States. Riace's population had shrunk so drastically that the village didn't even have a bar, a restaurant or a butcher's shop, and there weren't enough children to fill classes in the school. That was before Mayor Lucano decided to revive his village: with immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Lebanon."

Read the full article:,1518,675772,00.html

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