Pope Francis, visiting Italy's impoverished south, has told Neapolitans to resist exploitation by Mafia dons and seek the dignity of honest work.

On a day trip Saturday to Naples, Francis spoke to residents of Scampia, a rundown neighborhood dominated by Camorra mobsters, and decried its chronic joblessness.

In places like Scampia, more than half of young people are jobless. Many wind up working for the Naples-based crime syndicate as drug couriers or extortionists, shaking down local merchants for so-called "protection money."

Later, in his homily in Naples' main square, Francis urged tens of thousands of people to hold on to hope and resist the "easy earnings or dishonest income" of drug trafficking. He called on Mafiosi and their accomplices to abandon their criminal ways.