Italian good news: Small municipalities and typicality
- WTI Magazine #100 Feb 17, 2018
There is an Italy that challenges the crisis by focusing on its own identity, which competes and asserts itself without losing its soul. Culture, beauty and creativity are the keys to maintain and strengthen the international records that can boast our country. Italy is known in the world for its extraordinary food and wine heritage that makes it the country in Europe with the highest number of certified productions.
Many people do not know, however, that the major contribution to this primacy comes from our 5,567 small municipalities, under five thousand inhabitants, where 10 million Italians live. This is where 92 per cent of the products of protected origin are produced (PDO, Protected Indication of Origin, PGI), as well as 79 per cent of the finest Italian wines.
The Coldiretti-Foundation Symbola report "Piccoli comuni e tipicità" (Small Municipalities and Typicality) gives us the geography for each single Region of this deep and widespread productive dimension that contributes to maintaining the presence of territories and landscapes and enriches our biodiversity. It is precisely the DOP and Igp productions that have been the subject of a long, complex and detailed territorial reconstruction.
We must therefore take advantage of all the opportunities offered by our territories by focusing on quality, tradition, creativity and innovation. It is now possible thanks to the law on small municipalities, which provides for a series of simplifications and measures to encourage quality tourism, for the promotion of short supply chain agri-foodstuffs, but also the diffusion of broadband, an essential tool to widen the communication and production universe of territories that until now have been considered marginal, and which in this way find in contemporary times a "proximity" lost in time.
It is also important to invest in the provision of more rational and efficient services, in the maintenance of the territory starting from the priority given to environmental protection, in the safety of roads, schools and public buildings, which must also be made more efficient from an energy point of view. The Symbola and Coldiretti initiative develops this bet, and is consistent with the European initiative to make 2018 the "European Year of Cultural Heritage", as well as with the national launch of 2018 as the "Year of Italian Food".
The objective, in continuity with the dedication of 2017 to the villages of Italy, is the enhancement of UNESCO awards related to good eating, such as the Mediterranean Diet, the vine tree of Pantelleria, the landscapes of the Langhe Roero and Monferrato, Parma, creative city of gastronomy, the art of Neapolitan pizza makers. The year of Italian food will also be an opportunity to support the candidacy for similar awards, such as Prosecco and Amatriciana, which draw their strength from the close link between art, food and landscape and which are largely housed in the municipalities below five thousand inhabitants.
These are primates that make our country excel and are due to the combination of typicality, biodiversity, landscape and artistic beauty that boast our villages. Quality to be enhanced, on which Coldiretti and Symbola have been betting for years trying to enhance the protection and promotion of an unparalleled natural, cultural, landscape and artistic heritage, which attracts an increasing number of Italian and foreign tourists who go in search of the treasures hidden in our Belpaese.
The new law on the support and enhancement of small municipalities offers an additional tool to make our many talents take off, thanks to which we are one of the most sought after destinations in the world. An open coffer, which too often we do not know how to promote. It is a wealth that can be multiplied, not only from a productive point of view, but also thanks to the cultural, landscape, artistic and good living offerings.
The challenge is to re-launch a new model of economy more on a human scale, which holds together development and technological challenges, dignity of people, wellbeing and vitality of our communities, even the smallest ones, and which allows us to continue to be truly the Country of the Great Beauty.