The people of
Discover how the generosity of this land and the talents and ingenuity of
its people have given the world products famous for their quality
Forget any images you may have of
hand-waving, extravagantly emotional Italians - the people of the Marche certainly don't
fit the national stereotype. Hard-working, scrupulously honest, reticent and dry-humoured,
they often even drive slowly.
From peasant farming….
Although the marchigiani are at the forefront of the Italian economic miracle,
their feet are still firmly planted in the earth. Thrift, making the best of what is to
hand and a deep sense of craftsmanship in work are all values that have been cultivated
through centuries of subsistence farming on often poor land. And even if agriculture now
plays second fiddle to manufacturing, the values of the contadino, or tenant
farmer, are still deeply ingrained.
Perhaps the two aspects of contadino culture that have left the strongest mark on
the modern Marche economy are fertile creativity and a strong sense of the family. It is
not by chance that many of the region's most famous success stories involve companies that
produce some of Italy's best-known designer products yet remain firmly in the hands of the
families that founded them. Examples range from the celebrated furniture of Poltrona Frau
to the domestic appliances of Merloni, makers of Ariston and other brands.
Small is marchigiano
Another unusual aspect of the Marche economic scene is that much of the region's wealth is
still based on the small business rather than the corporate giant; while around a quarter
of Italy's shoe production comes from here, most of it is still produced in tiny,
craft-based workshops with just a handful of employees. So successful has the Marche
"economic model" been that it is often cited as an exemplar of a human-scale,
sustainable and profitable industrial system. As well as shoes, clothing, furniture and
musical instruments are amongst the most successful businesses. The region also boasts
numerous specialist hand craftsmen, including one of the world's finest hand-made pipe
Quality from the land
The general movement away from the land has meant that agriculture now plays a lesser
role. But here, too, the marchigiano eye for quality and originality has paid
dividends. From being just another mass-market wine, for example, the region's white
Verdicchio has been transformed over the past twenty or so years into a classy product
with an international following. The Marche can also boast great success with imaginative,
high-quality processing of agricultural produce into much sought-after foodstuffs,
including some of Italy's best pasta and a range of products based on truffles.
Another central element in the Marche economy that looks set for healthy growth is
tourism. Here, too, the marchigiani are aiming for quality rather than quantity and
present-day tourism development is being targeted at the discerning, independent traveller
rather than the package tourist.
Liberation Ventures Ltd.