Photo: Flickr | Sam and Ian
Presently, Italy’s economy is the fourth biggest in Europe, according to the International Monetary fund. Italy sits behind Germany, France and the United Kingdom.Really, Italy should be the biggest economy in Europe, and should be able to overtake Japan too which would make Italy the third biggest economy in the whole world.
To be honest, with its reputedly stagnant economy, Italy is not doing all that badly to be in fourth place in Europe and in eighth place in the world. Just imagine where Italy would be if its economy started really motoring.
Powering past the world leaders, the USA and China would be hard seeing as Italy has neither the manpower nor the area to compete with the big two. Eventually maybe, countries such as Russia or even India may overtake Italy in terms of economic horsepower, but growth in these two nations will be of benefit to Italy.
Now, why do I think Italy should be the biggest economy in Europe? When you think about it, it’s not too difficult to understand.
Here are the areas in which Italy could really shine, and most probably will, if the current forward thinking Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti manages to overcome the many obstacles obstinate Italy is likely to throw in his path.
Just look at what Italy has to offer on its home turf:
Italy is a holiday destination par excellence. It has got absolutely everything any tourist can possibly desire:
- A great climate – which lasts from mid-April all the way through to then end of October. If you count winter sports, Italy’s climate can attract tourists to significant sections of the peninsula all year round.
- Fabulous beaches – not all of which are too organised.
- A fantastically rich cuisine. Honestly, if you cannot find something you like in Italy, they you probably don’t like food. The meat is good, the fish is lovely and the vegetables and various condiments are superb too. And there is all that cheese!
- Wine. The world is starting, through no fault of its own, to discover the joys of Italian wines, both still and sparkling wines, such as my personal favourite: prosecco. Enjoying Italian wines in Italy adds another, very positive, dimension to experiencing this incredible country.
- Landscapes to die for. Mountains, lakes, seascapes, city and townscapes, Italy has them all – in abundance, and then some!
- Historic cities like Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples, Bologna, Turin, Palermo, Verona, Bergamo, Milan, Genoa -the list goes on and on. Then there are all the magnificent churches, ruins, villas, monuments, villages and even charming castles everywhere.
- Shopping. Where can I start? Fashion – clothes, men’s and women’s wear. Footwear, accessories, jewellery, leather goods, and children’s wear. Food and drink – not just wines, but also spirits such as grappa, and all those digestive and bitter drinks, as well as limoncello and liquorice liqueurs.
- Sport. Skiing, Formula One, football, rugby, golf, rallying and historic rallies. Water sports: water skiing, yachting, jet skiing, and a few more – and Italy makes fabulous boats too!
- Cruises. Italy’s coastline is, generally, spectacular, so going on a cruise is something many will enjoy – and it adds yet another dimension to Italy.
Have I missed something? Quite probably and will happily accept suggestions, even if the list is quite impressive as it is.
This is the real biggie and many of the items mentioned in the tourism section above can be exported.
Italy has so many brands with a world class reputation, it is difficult to remember them all, but here are a few to be going on with:
- Alfa Romeo
Italian fashion brands: Gucci, Armani, Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Trussardi, Versace, Krizia, Etro, Miu Miu, Laura Biagiotti, Max Mara, Fendi, Moschino, Missoni, Bottega Veneta, Benetton and Brioni are but a few. And there are many Italian accessory and jewelry brands, such as Luxottica, too.
Italian food brands: Nutella, Ferrero, Barilla, Napolina, Parmalat, and many more, including smaller brands making exclusive products for the luxury sector such as Baratti & Milano, Venchi, Bistefani and more. Visit the Eataly Market to see reams and reams of Italian food brands.
Want more? There are, plenty:
Italian furniture brands, and this is a mere glimpse of what Italy has to offer:
- Cattelan Italia
- Gallotti e Radice
- i4 Mariani
- Magis Design
- Team 7
Then there is Italian design, such as
What about Italian motorbikes:
- Moto Guzzi
- MV Agusta
The list goes on and on.Italy seems to be good at just about everything it touches, and then some.
Italy has lots of great brains, but has already, and blindly, let them export themselves away from the Boot, but many would come back and may well do so, when they deem the time is right. I’m willing to bet that many Italian expats are watching what Mario Monti is getting up to with great interest.
What is also interesting is that Italy is not standing still, despite its problematic economy.
New companies are being formed all the time, such as South Garage Cafè, a creator of bespoke cafè racer motorcycles. Unfortunately, Italy does not do much to nurture its baby businesses, but if the nation goes in the direction Mario Monti is pointing it, the world may well be graced by even more iconic Italian brands.
Obviously it is no good making products which nobody wants to buy, but this is not the case with Italy’s goods. The problem is that many people outside of Italy simply do not know what Italy offers.
I’ve been told by a few Italians that Italy is not especially good at marketing itself – which is putting it very mildly indeed. This is a pity because markets for Italian products abound.
Just about every country in the world is a market for made in Italy goods.
In some countries, such as the USA, UK, and a good few other nations, Italian brands are fairly well established; very well established, if you consider some of the big Italian fashion houses.
On top of the existing markets, which Italy could probably exploit better, there are the huge emerging markets – China, India and, eventually, Russia.
There is still plenty of space for Italy’s fine products almost everywhere.
Market, Market, Market
Italy only really needs to market its vast assortment of goods better.
If the Italian government actually starts functioning, one fine day, and with a little luck it will as a result of Mario Monti waving his technocratic wand, Italy stands to be an economy which dwarfs those of France, Germany and Great Britain.
Italy should be the number one economy in Europe. I’m absolutely, utterly and totally convinced of this.
Go on Italy! You can do it – if you want to.
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