Why ‘Made In Italy’ Is So Popular?

Why 'Made In Italy' Is So Popular

We all have heard 'made in Italy' at some points in our lives. As someone who spends a lot of time looking for unique makers across Europe, I hear and see this expression a lot.

So I thought to share my finding on why people appreciate, search and use things with and Italian label on it.

Holiday Destination

Italy has been one of the most popular holiday destinations for decades. And it is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ question. It is clear that people who discover authentic Italian food love to continue buying it when they come back.

Or is it because they enjoy Italian food so much at home they decide to visit the country during the holiday? This question is open for debate. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Italian Cuisine And Food

Italian food has conquered the world, and people in every nation appreciate it. We all know Italian dishes from childhood, and every self-respecting cook will have at least one Italian recipe book. Still, I find it a little amusing to see retailers importing pasta and even frozen pizzas with a ‘made in Italy’ label.

But it is not just that. It is probably even more regarding Italian agricultural produce. Even the smallest shops stock Italian olive oil, cheese and wine. And the larger ones extending their Italian food options to pickles, smoked meats, etc.

Let's admit it; we do enjoy it. Whether it is just a recipe cooked by us, a pizza delivered by a local restaurant or that creamy Mozzarella Di Bufala – it does feels quite special.

Using ‘Italian Made’ As A Status Symbol

Italian made things are famous because they are ‘Italian made’. Just like with celebrities, we tend to follow the crowd. For example, Kardashians are mostly famous for being famous.

I do wonder if the same would not apply to Italian products. With all the excitement about the ‘Italian made,’ and the certain status symbols, we do want to use it and show it off to others.

You will often hear ladies proudly mentioning that their bag or shoes are from Italy. But the same goes for men, especially those who are keen to show off their wealth or status.

Also, it goes beyond the things we wear. One can proudly display an Italian coffee maker, pottery, Murano glass chandelier, or piece of art or even a car.

I do not mean to generalise. This is to highlight only a relatively small portion of all people who appreciate Italian made products. Of course, there many other reasons to love, appreciate and to own Italian craft.

Attention To Detail

I have an Italian friend who pointed at Mosaic in an Italian church and said – that’s where our attention to every little detail started. And it is true; such artworks required exceptional eye for detail and level of patience I will never have. It is quite old tradition, but it might be closer you to than you think. You can still find these meticulously formed Mosaics in every Roman excavation around the former Roman Empire.

For me, the discovery came when I bought my first Italian made wallet from Il Bussetto. It was displayed in a manly boutique shop in NYC and attracted my attention because of really nice (but not flashy) leather colours.

I bought the one with the deepest blue I have ever seen on a leather product. Later, I also realised that it showed the highest craftsmanship level I have ever seen before. On one side, for example, there were no stitches visible. The corners and edges were polished to seamless perfection. Needless to say, I still use it today, and with time it became even more bountiful due to natural oils darkening the most used edges.

Italian Fashion Design

I have to admit that I am not much into fashion myself. But even I know that Italian fashion designers are outstanding. There are so many Italian luxury brands driven by famous designers – Valentino Garavani, Gianni Versace, Franco Moschino, Guccio Gucci and the list goes on.

But, of course, it is not just about luxury fashion houses, designers and labels. There are many other less known but no less creative design houses aim at the mid-range consumer.

Most of us are still willing to spend a little more on the Italian design, but without having to tap into our savings. Also, for more budget couscous consumers, it is great to have so many options amongst the accessory products. You might spend more than usual on your wallet, but you can surely afford it easier than an evening dress from the same luxury designer.

Due to its popularity, the worldwide Italian fashion industry has grown to employ 580,000 people in the fashion industry. And looking at the export figures, it still continues to grow.

Quality Of Materials

There is a reason that artisans and brands from other countries state that they used Italian leather, fabric or yarn. For hundreds of years, Italian artisan families passed on their skills from generation to generation. And now it has all accumulated to skills and experience that allows them to create the fabric of exceptional quality.

For the hide production, for example, artisans used the most suitable cow breeds for their products. Harder leather for making saddles and softer leather for accessories like wallets.

Then there is also hide processing secrets. Every nation is using different techniques and agents to keep it flexible and to preserve it for longer. Each family would have their own secret mix of oils, tree barks or even fish products. These days use of natural tanning agents like oak bark is very common still.

Such details perfected from one generation to the next lead to the exceptional quality appreciated worldwide today.

Innovative And Reliable Engineering

Italian engineers have something to be proud of. It contributes to the Italian production competences we tend to attribute for the higher quality of goods.

For example, Italian sports cars are well known for their brightly painted looks and exceptional performance. And of course, it does not just stop at cars or motorcycles. Italian engineers have been making many other things too.

campagnolo big corkscrew review

For example, Campagnolo is a well-known bicycle part manufacturer. It has the following amongst cyclings around the world who especially appreciate their group-set and wheels. But it also makes other things too. It holds more than 2000 international patents ranging from materials, mechanisms and even aerodynamic designs. My personal favourite from them is the Big Corkscrew wine opener.

Campagnolo used their cycling engineering expertise to create a truly impressive oversized wine opener. It is a relatively new addition to their product range, but it is already widely appreciated by collectors and wine lovers. See my Big Corkscrew review if you like what you see.

Italian Heritage

Not all things with ‘made in Italy’ label are equally Italian, however. Things that had two manufacturing steps in Italy can use such a label, even if parts of it are coming from China.

However, if you are after a product that has been fully made in Italy lookout for ‘100% made in Italy’ certification.

certification-logo

It is issued by Istituto Tutela Produttori Italiani, who checks that entire cycle of production took place in Italy. It applies to the production itself, parts, design, and even checks for the use of traditional Italian manufacturing methods.

I find it quite strict, but that way, it is much easier for us consumers to trust that we are buying a 100% genuine product. Read my post about ‘What Does ‘Made In Italy’ Stand For?’ to learn more.

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Some Great Gift Ideas For Your Italian Boyfriend

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Great Gift Ideas For Your Italian Boyfriend

One of the ways to find an ideal gift for your Italian boyfriend would be to look at his heritage. Finding something cute, useful and interesting from Italy will give you a lot of brownie points for the effort and thoughtfulness.

So whether you want to tell him “sono attratta de te” (I'm attracted to you) or “sei la mia anima bamella” (you are my soulmate) these Italian gift ideas should help you out.

So What Do Italians

Make These

Days?

Italy has benefited the world in many aspects. Think architecture, pasta, pizza, art, cars, fashion, gelato and the list goes on. But the world is changing, it is going global, and Italy is not an exception.

I find it harder to find artisans as the new generation is not always picking up the reins. But despite this change, Italy is still an amazing place to find truly unique, inspiring and high-quality things to gift.

This list is by any means not conclusive, just initial ideas to get your thoughts in the right direction. But also I hope it will allow you to discover those artisans and makers that you would not usually come across.

Watches

Watch is always a good present. Guys no longer want to just have one watch. The more, the merrier – especially if they are really different from one another. There are so many different looks, the brands and related stories to consider.

There are more Italian watch brands that one might think. But for now, I would suggest considering one of the two brands. They are interesting to me because they represent “the new Italy” – as these are relatively young brands. It shows that Italy is adapting and changing with times.

Anonimo was born in 2013 like an Italian Phoenix. Panerai, one of the best-known luxury watch brands, was bought and moved to Switzerland. But Anonimo took over the knowledge and watchmakers to start a new life as a new watch company that now offers quality luxury watches at a lower price.

Officina Del Tempo was born in 2000 and offer watches at a lower budget. Still offering loads of unique designs, Italian style and workmanship.

Jeans

Contrary to popular belief, jeans were not invented by Americans. Yes, Levi Strauss started jeans company in 1851 in NY, but he actually brought this idea from Europe.

Here are two stories to prove it. Name “denim”, the material jeans are made from, comes from a sturdy fabric called “Serge de Nîmes”. And name “jeans” comes from the name of “Genoa” in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane, was manufactured.

Shaftjeans is made in Florence, Italy and been in business since the times when jeans were an act of rebellion – 1968. Buy your gift online or in high street shops.

Blue de Genes is another company that is highly focused on traditions and craftsmanship. They have a great range of Italian jeans while balancing quality and price.

Ceramic Espresso Cups

I am still to meet an Italian who would not be completely addicted to a morning caffeine intake. Well, let's be honest, that intake is more likely to be five times a day, if not more.

Hence coffee drinking is clearly a ritual that is very important to your guy. So, how about making it a little more extra precious?

Italians have been making unique ceramics since the Middle Ages, especially when it comes to styling them. And that craftsmanship is still there today.

Two towns of Deruta and Orvieto in the Umbria region of Italy stand out for their ceramic decorations with influences from those days.

Luckily you do not need to go there just now (although I do recommend it); we have them in our shop and US-based warehouse if you are after a speedy delivery.

See Italian ceramic espresso cups here.

Knives

The world is continuously changing, and hence we tend to change our lifestyle and how we do things. Sometimes going back “in time” to re-discover how people lived before can bring surprisingly good ideas.

For example, Antonini Italy has a dedicated SOS rescue knife. They are already used by special Fire Brigade, Civil Defence and Red Cross corps. Believe me – every guy will love that fact. So he can be prepared for rescue if needed too. They are made in Moniago area – the best-known region for its exceptional knives.

And Consigli Scarperia which is focusing on making historically accurate knives from different regions of Italy. Pictured, is my favourite due to its unique shape. This type of knives was made after 1908 when carrying sharp knives was forbidden. Now we can benefit from a less threatening and yet useful pocket knife.

Cycling Clothes

Does he cycle? If your answer is 'yes' then you are in for an easy ride!

Cyclists can never have enough cycling apparel. And there are a lot of Italian companies making exceptional quality clothing for cycling. As you might know cycling, in general, is very close to Italians – so it is a good route to take when looking for gift ideas in general.

Out of many, as a cyclist myself, I would recommend MsTina, an Italian company making clothing for cyclists for over 30 years. They have outstanding fabric technology – which is very important. Windproof jacket in the picture uses eVent patented technology which allows microscopic evaporation while being completely windproof.

Or go for a pearl of old wisdom – heritage-inspired merino wool jersey from De Marchi. Genuinely unique look, traditional Italian way to keep warm and dry.

Socks

North of Italy is home to many Italian textile businesses. They make many things, but I feel that socks are a very easy thing to gift. It is useful and can match the personality of your boyfriend – playful, formal or sporty.

Knitido, for example, is famous for its toe socks. Probably it is something that would fit a boyfriend is more playful and relaxed. These Italian socks are whimsical and yet useful. Considering it would be a gift, it is nice to offer a new experience – using toe socks. They do feel different and might take some time to get used to. I just love the playfulness and colour options available.

I also like WAMS, a young company founded in 2013 who tap into existing Italian craftsmanship to create more playful and more contemporary socks. And they can save your time with sock gift packs.

Wine Opener

Italy is the wine country and hence it is not a surprise you that Italians have their own ideas on how wine opener should look like.

When it comes to truly impression making wine openers from Italy, there is only one – Campagnolo Big Corkscrew. It is the largest wine opener I have ever come across. And the one that truly makes an impression on my dinning guests every single time. Made by one of the most famous Italian cycling brands, it is of a very high engineering quality with several patented innovations. See my full review to learn more.

For those searching for something delivered quickly to the US, I would mention Fartafalli – a really sleek Italian corkscrew. It is listed, albeit in limited numbers, on amazon.com so it will ensure fast delivery.

Slippers and Espadrilles

As you might have noticed, those Italian guys are quite focused on their looks, and fashion sense very often tends to be quite in tune with the latest trends and the hottest looks.

North of Italy is famous for its stylish and quality shoes. But as a gift, I would suggest going for an ultimate classical gift to any boyfriend – slippers. And it is much appreciated – we guys just don't think that slippers can be exciting.

Le Clare designed these exceptionally good looking wool slippers for men. Wool is great for absorbing moisture, keeping warmth in and odours out.

Espadrilles is another casual footwear that is always handy to have. Most of them are made in Spain, but I found this artisan who works with Maus & Hofmann to create colourful leather espadrilles that look luxury.

Vespa

Ok, this is not a gift for every occasion or every budget. But still an exciting option. Just think about it. What can be more Italian than Vespa scooter? Your boyfriend most likely rode one these during his teen years in Italy. It would be a powerful way to make his commute or weekend out-and-abouts more fun.

Although Vespa has a factory in Vietnam that serves demand in Asia, they do still have a factory in Pontedera, Italy. So if you are buying a new scooter, it is an important fact to clarify before parting with your money.

Getting a second hand Vespa is also an excellent option. Guys are different from women (or at least from the ones I dated). If you get your boyfriend a beaten up old Vespa as a refurbishment project, he is very likely to jump with joy. The company made 1.6 million scooters so far, so I am sure finding a second hand Vespa is not going to be a problem, no matter where you live.

And Then There Is The Whole Separate World

Of Leather Making

Italian leather craft has made a name for itself worldwide. And there are a few reasons for that. Firstly, it is due to the quality of the leather. Italians just have these secrets of making leather so colourful, so soft or so hard when it's needed.

Secondly, it is due to the craftsmanship. They know how to stitch, glue and weave that leather together. I still admire my minimalistic Italian wallet that simply has no stitches.

And thirdly, we all know how amazing Italian sense of fashion is.

Today there are more than 4,500 leather makers in Italy. And most of them are family businesses where skills and secrets are being passed on from generation to generation. You don't want to be the generation that soil your family name by making low-quality leather products.

Personalised Italian Shoes

Most Italian shoes are made in Le Marche region, that became a centre of shoemaking over hundred years ago. Every guy would love to own a pair of Italian shoes. I bet your Italian boyfriend even more so.

This time, however, I would stay away from classical looking leather shoes and go for something less formal. That way he can wear it more frequently = thinking of you and your gift more frequently.

Personal Shoes have three styles of sneakers that you can personalise by choosing colours for the leather, decorations etc. And also write the name or the initials on top or inside of the shoe. Go for his favourite colours, or just write something cute.

Or go for Marrio Bemer from Florence, for higher-priced quality leather sneakers designed to your preferred colours. This is my design in the picture – I bet you can do better. There is no option to add text or initials though.

Belts With A Twist

As a guy, I can confirm that it is handy to have several belts. Hence it is always a good gift idea. Of course, in our case, we are talking about exceptional belts that will be appreciated for their Italian craftsmanship.

At the same time, I also think it should be functional and have something unique about it. That's why reversible belts can offer nice flexibility when travelling. You pack one thing instead of two. Pierro Tucci knows their best Italian products, hence – a good place to check out.

Considering the high-quality level of Italian leathercraft it is not surprising that well-known luxury brands source their belts from there. Although that does apply to all of their products it is good to seek out Italian made options. For quick delivery in the USA check this blue / black Versace belt on Amazon.com.

Contemporary Leather Wallets

It is great when I see traditional craftsmanship merging with contemporary styles and requirements. Think, leather iPhone holders, for example. Same applies to other products like leather wallets. We have less reliance on cash, we use Apple or Google Pay and hence wallets for men have to slim down and become more playful than the traditional ones.

Dudu is a family business where the younger generation is working on the designs, and the older generation utilises their craftsmanship skills to achieve this exceptional quality. I especially like their personable and innovative colourful leather cardholders.

Maxwell Scott team, from the USA, sourced a really nice Italian wallet for men which is slim and made out of soft leather. It is just perfect for any guy who does not like bulky wallets in their pocket.

Leather Accessories

There are quite a few leather accessories that I did not know I needed. Simply never used them before, but now can hardly imagine my life without them. Could that also be an exciting gift idea for your boyfriend?

Leather valet (not to be mistaken with a wallet) is a lovely luxury accessory. Initially I did not see much point, but when I placed it on my bedside desk, I found it extremely useful. And it adds a touch of Italian style to my place. Borlino makes some great ones.

It is not a secret that I am a big fan of colours and lacquered shine on all leather accessories by Il Bussetto. Tacco leather pouch is one of those fascinating things that add a style and colour to any environment. Of course, it is great to store spare change too.

TO CONCLUDE

Surely, this gift search should be fun for you too.

I know that shopping is usually fun, but I also know that it can be frustrating when you do not know what to get. Those guys can be so 'I don't know' sometimes.

So, maybe they just genuinely do not know what they might enjoy or appreciate owning.

Go with your gut feeling or see which present can have the most exciting story for him. There are loads of really interesting Italian makers out there.

I hope this suggestion list got you on the right track and gave you some great ideas.

Let's help each other out. Do share your other interesting Italian gift suggestions!

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