Giuseppina travels 1,000 miles a day to go to work
From Monday to Saturday, this lady gets up at 3:30 a.m. in the morning to catch the train from Naples to Milan and returns at 11:30 p.m.
The debate on the labor crisis, wages and rental prices is once again raging in Italy. And the story of Giuseppina Giugliano, a 29-year-old Neapolitan woman, is a clear reflection of what is happening in this country.
Known as the ‘high speed janitor’, this woman travels from Naples to Milan every day to work as a janitor at a high school. For that, she has to get up at 3:30 a.m. every morning to catch a bus to the station, where she catches a high-speed train at 5:09 a.m. to reach Milan in four and a half hours.
Every day she arrives perfectly on time at the Instituto Boccioni in Milan, where she works as a janitor. At 10:30 a.m. she begins her working day and, once she has completed working day, she returns home following the same route in the opposite direction. At 5:00 p.m. she leaves the school, buys something to eat and at 6:20 p.m. boards the train back to Naples.
She arrives home at 11:30 p.m. and can only allow herself a few minutes with her family, because the next day she will once again be travelling 1,000 miles (500 there and 500 back) to go to work .
Taking the train is cheaper than renting a flat
Despite the fact that she has had a permanent contract at the school in Milan since September, Guiseppina has preferred to continue with this “extreme” life, because she feels she has no other alternative.
She tried to find a flat in Milan which she could afford with her salary of around 1,100 euros (the dollar is worth about the same as the euro at the moment), but just a room alone would cost her 650 euros a month. This led her to do the math until she came to the conclusion that going and returning by train every day was more profitable than renting a room. With travel points when you buy a ticket in advance, the train costs her 400 euros per month.
That means with this crazy commute she can spend less than sharing a room in Milan and save something; otherwise she would spend all her salary on food, rent and water and electricity costs.
North - South divide in Italy
Giuseppina decided to live like this for now because she is still young, although she has admitted to the Italian newspaper ‘Ir Giorno’ that she won’t be able to live like this for ever. As she gets older it will be more difficult to cope.
Her case has gone viral in Italy, with it becoming part of the debate over the cost of living. So much so that people from her school are looking to help find her accommodation. But her case is not just a story of effort and sacrifice, but of a social drama that Italy is experiencing.
More and more young people are turning to extreme ways to organise their lives, just like Giuseppina, especially if they live in the poorer south of the country but work in the north, because there is a major divide between the two.
Italian train discount for workers
Trenitalia, the Italian train operator offers the Smart Worker Special ticket, which offers discounts of up to 80% for people travelling for work, provided they buy booklets of 10 or 20 trips to be used in the space of 30 days.