What is made in Italy
Italy is probably one of the most famous countries in the world, mostly known for its food, climate, art and architecture. Many people tend to see it as an extremely characteristic country, and “made in Italy” label carry a lot of weight worldwide. But why is that? I think this is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, Italy has a lot of small workshops specialising in very niche products – it makes them exceptionally good at what they do. Secondly, it has a veil of secrecy and feeling of discovery because it is not coming in large volume. And lastly, this country is simply amazing and everyone wants to have a little part of it in their lives. So discover your favourite piece of Italy. Use this guide to find your own hidden Italian treasure.
Leather products of Marche
Of course, we could not ignore the hot topic these days – Tod’s soft suede shoes for Ferrari. Pictured on the left.
This region is not just about shoes. Majority of Italian leather jackets, belts and other leather accessories are mainly coming from the hilly central provinces of Ascoli and Macerata.
I might be biased, but as a user of Il Bussetto colourful leather accessories, I think they show the best contemporary leather craftsmanship out there.
It seems that this region has not been globally undiscovered yet, and hence has a potential for some great finds.
Glass and glasses
As these days the making process can be copied by anyone, aim for the following three brands: Pauly, Seguso (since 1397) and Barovier & Toso (since 1295). Their Venetian glass is not only made in Italy, but even at the same historical workshops in the city of Murano, Venice
Glassmaking skills apply to making eyewear too. Luxottica, located in Veneto is making eyeglasses and sunglasses for the majority of the world’s luxury brands like Ray Band, Chanel, Valentino, Versace, Tiffany & Co and etc. Made in Italy does play well with the luxury brand image, no doubt.
Interestingly, at some point, Luxottica was even making Google Glass too.
Its ceramics painting techniques set it apart from other mainstream approaches. Colour in maiolica tin-glazed earthenware is applied to the under-fired glaze, which absorbs the pigment like a fresco. This technique makes it impossible to correct any mistakes but is ideal for preserving brilliant colours.
Interestingly, the most popular Maiolica product is a ceramic biscuit box (pictured). A previously huge industry, it is now concentrated to few remaining contemporary manufacturers in cities of Deruta and Montelupo.
The city of Chieri, near Turin, used to produce a blue coloured fence in the 15th century. This was then exported through the port of Genoa, where this type of fabric was used to pack sacks for sailboats. Then during the Renaissance, fabrics adopted the name of its production place. Today it is widely considered that the English word blue-jeans is derived directly from the words bleu de Gênes or blue of Genoa in French.
There are quite a few companies with made in Italy label on it. To name one that stands out – Candiani. Is known for being the largest denim producer in Europe, its greenest credentials in the industry and a 75-year history of family-run operation from Milan.
In Berlin’s Bread and Butter fashion festival, people could customise their jeans, so watch out for the same opportunity in 2018.
Musical boxes with wood inlay design
Hence it is not surprising that you can still find such makers in this region today. Recently, while travelling along the coast of Italy I discovered a maker of exceptional wooden musical boxes in the city of Sorrento. In his small workshop, he crafts different designs – some are more classical but some quite contemporary and daring designs too.
Each pattern and shape is hand cut and inlaid on a wooden surface. This very creative and labour intensive design is now used to make jewellery slash jewellery boxes on small scale. As a buyer, you can choose one of 12 tunes available, and the artist (a professor in carving and arts) Antonino Moiyone signs a certificate of authenticity.
There are also quite a few small boutique watchmakers with true made in Italy certification to discover. Here are few to start with:
U-Boat from Lucca specialising for flight enthusiasts, with some of the designs following trends from 1940’s.
Or Meccaniche Veloci with their Quattro Valvole (Four Pistons) collection. It was developed in partnership with Bremo, where they use supercar parts and materials to achieve unique look and feel.
Or Officina del Tempo from Senigallia, a brand launched in 2000 by two passionate watch collectors.
Tommasini is one of the boutique bicycle brands that kept their manufacturing at its original Italian base in Grosseto since 1957. Although initially praised for steel frame bikes, it has now also started hand making carbon, titanium and aluminium frames too.
Velorapida makes stunning vintage bikes that are electric capable of achieving speeds up to 25 km/h for 60 kilometres.
Cipollini is known for its custom-made approach, contemporary looks and latest materials used.
Ferrari 812 Superfast is the last Ferrari model. As expected, it is not easily affordable with a price of 291.642 Euros. Maserati cars are less expensive. Their last model, the Levante suv, costs 73.417€
Much of Ferrari’s fame is due to the Formula 1 team and merchandising, which are more profitable to the company than cars themselves. Moreover, there is even a Ferrari themed park in Dubai, and a themed land in Port Aventura, near Barcelona.
Beginning in the 80s, the company envisaged a new trend in the tourism industry and began to build Cruise ships and large yachts. Most of Costa Crociere and MSC ships, two of the leading Italian cruises companies, have been built in Trieste. As well as the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, the first two ships of the Disney Cruise Line. A total of 80 cruise ships have now been built here.
MSC Seaside is the biggest ship ever built at Fincantieri with a tonnage of 154,000. It is set to operate throughout the year in the Medditerian sea. Sailing from Miami port, Florida, the maiden voyage is set for December 2017.
Feeling inspired? Looking for more stories about original things made in Europe? Discover other countries too. Here are our guides on what is made in: Sweden, Lithuania, Germany
Author: Mattia Galante