There is a dark side to Italy, unfortunately. The politics are fair enough but the politicians not always so, as mentioned in a previous post the ex Prime Minister was one of the most infamous with his private and public life coming under scrutiny. He came to power by being voted in yet there are many rumours he paid money to help with this. Plus he owns a lot of media, some of the main TV channels and newspapers which were biased in favour of him. This is partly the problem with his long service in this position. One reason he was voted in was that he was a multi billionaire so the general public hoped there would be no need of corruption by him. Sadly it's been proved he evaded tax payments, changed laws causing it to be unlawful to imprison Prime Ministers (in other words, himself) and committed perjury eg in regards to a 17 yr old prostitute who'd been at one of his Bunga Bunga parties, where he told police that she was the granddaughter of the Egyptian leader.
Of course the other dark side to Italy are the groups who break laws, extort, threaten, even kill. The main one everyone knows of is the Mafia, also known as the Cosa Nostra. They are mainly but not exclusively situated in Sicily. Starting up in the late 1800's they now make most of their money through prostitution, drug trafficking and loan sharking. They still offer protection to people mainly shops and businesses if they get money (to protect against themselves). They have now also found a new way to terrorize people and make themselves more money, by controlling food, they have a strong hold on certain tomatoes for instance and make money that way. My aunt is from a village in Sicily which still has no running water, the reason being that the Mafia control a local spring, they force the water company to not put down pipes to being in ta water for free causing the people who live there to bu their own bottled water - this is the 21st century so it's hard to believe.
I want to let you know that this is changing, people are fighting back. Many shops carry a sign to show they don't pay the protection money encouraging others to do the same, there are groups against Mafia, the police are capturing more and more of them. One group against them is Women Against Mafia who are just that, a growing group of women coming together and staging demonstrations.
There are other organisations, the Camorra in Naples and the 'Ndrangheta of the south of Italy in Calabria are two of the others. The 'Ndrangheti specialize in kidnapping people for ransoms, and people trafficking usually women for the sex trade. Both organisations deal in drugs and money laundering. The Camorra also are believed to bribe or terrorize politicians into doing what they want them to do.
Reading this back, it's not so much a dark side as a black one, or at least very bleak. Italy has many coruptions, even the general public themselves often see rules and agree with them but may bend them a little to suit themselves. It's not that they are bad - not like the organised crime syndicates anyway - but more that this is how it is done, I think it's how they get through, how they can put the bad sides behind them. But, I've said it before, things are changing. Things are getting better, that's why the picture I have added is one of the public demonstrating in Rome against corruption.