In southeastern Sicily, the islanders have a name for the bleak hill town of Ragusa: una brutta cittaan ugly city.
Its 48,000 people live in clannish poverty in stone houses little better than caves, scratching the barest kind of living from their rocky wheatfields. But last week Ragusa stood as a symbol of new economic hope for Sicily, and for all Italy.
On a hill outside the town stood a modern, 168-ft. oil rig; below it was Sicily's first proven well, Gulf Oil Corp.'s Ragusa No. 1, with an initial capacity of more than 500 bbls. a day.
Gulf's strike was of...