Naples hires ex-cons as tour guides

Anyone who’s read Roberto Saviano’s acclaimed book Gomorrah or seen the chilling film of the same name is already familiar with the notorious Neopolitan criminal organization called the Camorra. This massive enterprise, the oldest criminal group in Italy, makes its money mostly by trafficking drugs, illegally dumping toxic waste, and extorting money, and it’s more than willing to eliminate those who try to stand in its way.

So it makes sense that the city of Naples is offering jobs to recently-released prisoners in an attempt to keep them away from offering their services to the Camorra. But the exact job some of the ex-cons are being given might surprise you: They’re becoming tour guides.

The program, called ‘Esco-Dentro’ (‘Exit-Inside’), aims to reintegrate former inmates into society by providing them jobs, from street sweepers to sanitation workers to, yes, city tour guides.

So how are the guides doing so far? According to an article in the Global Post, the men ‘look like tourist guides, but have a hard time acting like them. Most speak only Italian, have never heard of personal space and give out tourist brochures as aggressively as a street vendor peddles stolen goods.’

On the plus side, the guides are apparently quite good at helping tourists find good pizza and avoid pickpockets. Go figure.

Whole thing here. Check out a New York Times review of the haunting, almost-too-real film Gomorrah here.