Italian Light Manufacturing

Italy is well-known globally for its fashion industry, and its wine and cheese, second only to France. There are, however, other industries especially in the light manufacturing sector that contribute much more to the economy of Italy.

Industrial activity in this country has been aided largely by the liberal investment and business policies favored by the government. Italian light manufacturing consists mostly of the automotive, chemical and white goods industries. Together, the products manufactured by these industries constitute a major portion of the exports of Italy. Apart from a handful of large industries, the size of most of the manufacturing industries is small to medium. These industries mostly produce niche products and luxury goods that have a dedicated market among other European countries such as Germany, France, Spain as well as the United States and Japan.

Automotive Industry: The very mention of Italian automobiles calls to mind the names Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Fiat and Lancia. The fact that this is by no means an exhaustive list is testimony to the diversity in the range of automobiles produced by Italian manufacturers. There are Italian cars for every kind of budget manufactured by these companies. In addition to automobiles, there are also industries that manufacture machine parts or precision machinery, most of which are either consumed by local industries or exported.

Textiles and Clothing Industry: Italy has some of the world’s best known clothing and textile brands. In addition to catering for the luxury segment, the success of this Italian industry lies in the production of casual and designer wear at affordable prices and of high quality. The retail distribution network of such products is very strongly developed.

Food Processing: With famous names such as Parmalat, Nestlé and Barilla, the Italian food processing industry contributes a significant amount to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition to the larger food processing units run by these companies, there are also numerous small and family-run food processing units that produce cheese, sausages, chocolate, pasta and ham. The global popularity of Italian food has driven the growth in this sector for the last few years.

This is not a comprehensive listing of the goods manufactured in Italy – there is much more to industrial activity in Italy. Aviation, cheese, perfumes, wine, jewelry, olive oil – these are the many products manufactured in Italy that are exported largely to the European market. Whatever be the industry, the quality of the products and the superior design have made the ‘Made In Italy’ brand a byword among buyers of the products.

Italian Fashion History

Milan, as the fashion capital of the world, is a name that has become synonymous with style. With its culture of art and design, Italy is second to none in fashion. Italian fashion is famous wherever one travels and has even beats out nations like France. The following is a look into the history of Italian fashion and how it has come to leave such a deep impression in the minds of all fashion conscious people around the world.

The Renaissance and Italian Fashion:
Italian fashion began its first major flowering during the Renaissance starting as early as the late 14th century. Many Italian city-states had prospered from international trade. With exclusive trade ties to the Orient, these states had monopolies on certain fabrics too, and the seeds of Italian fashion were planted. This, combined with great artistic minds of the time epitomized by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, allowed Italian fashion to flower in the Renaissance.

At the time, Italian fashion was known for its extravagance. The elite classes and rich merchants were investing more and more money into purchasing costly clothes. Designs that were considered complex in those days were being regularly churned out by Italian designers, and people preferred wearing the designs that were in vogue at the expense of more traditional clothing.

Decline
The demand for high quality clothes gave rise to manufacturing of fine fabrics that were used in creating this costly clothing. Eventually though, Italian fashion went into decline. Spanish, English and French fashion soon became really popular with the masses and started to overshadow Italian fashion. Italian fashion was using styles that left very little room for experimentation and soon Italian fashion stopped being what interested designers most.

Revival
Giovan Battista Giorgini is hailed for his efforts to bring back Italy into the world fashion arena when Italy started to export fashion accessories after the World War II. He was also the person who held the first modern fashion show in Italy. Furthermore, he established relations with various merchants across the world by throwing a party where he invited the who’s who of the fashion world. The fashion shows were attended by journalists who covered the events exclusively on Giovan’s request.

Until the 1970’s, Italian fashion catered more to wealthier people and celebrities. Later the designers started to design clothes for the common people and Italian fashion became accessible to the general public. The 80s decade marked a great advancement in the Italian fashion industry, and Milan became the fashion capital of the world.

While it is unclear how long Italy will maintain its position in the fashion world, it will at the very least be a fashion center for the foreseeable future.

The Top 7 Most Exciting Italian Cars

Italian cars have a reputation for quality and speed. They are a status symbol for the upper class, and have a stellar reputation in the world of racing. Some cars are known by the manufacturers, such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Others are known by their own names, like Gran Turismo, Diablo and Ypsilon. Here is a list of the top seven Italian cars produced by the best Italian car manufacturers.

Alfa Romeo Spider
The Alfa Romeo Spider was first manufactured as the Giulietta Spider. It was created at the request of Max Hoffman, a famous importer to the US in the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, Alfa Romeo exported the Spider and other models to the US, and the Spider was featured in the film classic “The Graduate” starring Dustin Hoffman.

The Spider has gone through some changes over the years, but it has always been a rag top modeled after Romeo’s Brera. In addition to the Spider, Alfa Romeo is known for the MiTo and the Giulietta. They are also famous in Grand Prix racing for motorsport sponsorship and manufacturing.

Ferrari GTO
Ferrari has been around since 1929, but they mainly manufactured racing cars. In 1947 they created the first sports car that was street legal called the 125s. The 250 GTO was the first of their supercars line, designed to be sleek, fast, and expensive. Ferrari is a symbol of class and speed, and many wealthy car enthusiasts believe that Ferrari’s are a status symbol.

Although those who aren’t as familiar with cars recognize the Ferrari name and symbol of a rearing horse, there are several different models. The California Grand Tourer with a V8 engine and the 458 Italia are the latest popular models. Ferrari is still well-known in the racing circuit, especially in Formula One, where it is famous for its racing cars.

Fiat 500
Fiat has been around since 1894 and is known for several models of Italian cars, including the newer Fiat 500 and Punto Evo. In 2009, they were the world’s ninth largest car manufacturer and they were Italy’s largest manufacturer of automobiles. They are best known for their supermini vehicles that are fast and great on gas. The Punto Evo comes in three different models: 3-door, 5-door and van. They are only sold with diesel or gas engines with 5 or 6-speed manual transmissions.

Fiat has formed relationships with General Motors, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Lancia. In 2009 they acquired 30% of ownership in Chrysler, and as of 2011 own 53.5% of the company.

Lamborghini Diablo
Like with Maserati and Ferrari, many recognize the Lamborghini name but may not know the different models they sell. The Diablo was the sports car that made Lamborghini famous, especially in the US. The Countach is another popular car produced by Lamborghini, but these two models were replaced by the Gallardo and Spyder.

Lamborghini began in 1963 and is actually known for its farm equipment. Its founder was a sports car enthusiast and was determined to make improvements in what he saw as deficiencies in the Ferrari line. Despite its struggles and financial hardships, Lamborghini is still known as a luxury sports car manufacturer.

Lancia Ypsilon
The Ypsilon is one of Lancia’s newest superminis. It is a 5-door hatchback and is produced with the Musa, and Delta, other vehicles in the small family car market. Lancia has been around since 1906 and became a part of the Fiat Group in 1969. It is known for naming its cars after letters in the Greek Alphabet.

Maserati Gran Turismo
 Italian CarsMaserati is a well-known manufacturer, but has actually been owned by several different companies over the years, including the French car company Citroen. It was founded in 1914 and, like many Italian car manufacturers, began creating racing cars for motor sports.

It became a part of the Fiat Group in 1993. The Gran Turismo is a Grand Tourer and has a V8 4.2 liter engine. Its many sports models are well known in the racing world, especially in Europe.

Pugani Zonda
Pugani is the elite in sports cars and has many vehicles that are custom made for its rich clients. This company is younger than many of the other top Italian car manufacturers; it has only been around since 1992. The Zonda has a V-12 Maserati engine and was modeled after the jet fighter design. This vehicle was inspired by, and created for, car enthusiasts in Europe.

Italian cars are best known in the Formula One and Grand Prix racing arenas. Their manufacturers have gone through many difficult times, including ownership by the Italian dictator Mussolini during World War II. They have survived these changes and hard economic times to be considered the best of the best in the sports car industry. They are the status symbol of the young, the rich and the powerful and the envy of many sports car enthusiasts. Many American sports cars have strived to duplicate Italy’s success but never quite made it.