We The Italians | Italian report: Io sono Cultura 2017

Italian report: Io sono Cultura 2017

Italian report: Io sono Cultura 2017

  • WTI Magazine #93 Jul 14, 2017
  • 1525

Culture is one of the driving forces of the Italian economy, one of the factors that fuel the quality and competitiveness of Made in Italy. The Cultural and Creative Production System, made by enterprises, public administrations and non-profit, generated 89,9 billion euro and initiates other sectors of the economy, moving all considered 250 billion, equivalent to 16.7% of the Italian GDP.

This is an estimate comprehensive of the value produced by every industry's branches active in this field, but also of that part of the economy that benefits from and is stimulated by culture and creativity, starting with tourism. This richness is positively reflected on employment: the Cultural and Creative Production System employs 1,5 million people (almost 22 thousand units more than in 2015), accounting for 6% of total employment in Italy.

Overall, the cultural and creative production is a system with an upward trend: in 2016 it has produced a value added higher than the previous year (+ 1.8%), sustained by a similar increase in employment (+ 1.5%). These two data reflect a growth slightly above those of the economy complex (+ 1.5% of added value) and of employment(+ 1.3%).

These are the findings of the report "Io sono Cultura 2017 L’Italia della qualità e della bellezza sfida la crisi", prepared by Fondazione Symbola and Unioncamere, with the collaboration and support of the Marche Region and Sida Group, the only studi in Italy which annually quantifies the weight of culture and creativity in our national economy. The numbers clearly show that culture is one of the engines of the recovery of our economy.

Now entering its seventh edition, the study proposes numbers and stories and is made with the help of about 40 leading personalities in various fields, the partnership with Fondazione Fitzcarraldo and Si.Camera and the Patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism.

The analysis clearly shows how much the Italian system needs culture and creativity: 6% of the wealth produced in Italy in 2016, as to say 89,9 billion euro. But there's more, because the Cultural and Creative Production System has a multiplier effect of 1.8 on the rest of the economy. In other words, for each euro produced by the Cultural and Creative Production System, another 1,8 € is triggered in other areas. So, the 89,9 billion stimulate other 160 billion, making a total of 250 billion directly or indirectly produced by the entire cultural sector: the 16.7% of Italian GDP, with tourism as the main beneficiary of this flywheel effect. More than a third of national tourism expenditure, exactly 37.9%, is driven by culture and creativity.

For reasons related to identity preservation and revitalization of tourism economy, it is absolutely remarkable that for the next 10 years the entire fee dedicated to the preservation of the cultural heritage (coming from the choices made by the Italians of whom to give the 8 per thousand of their taxes) will be used to reconstruction and restoration of cultural heritage in the areas affected by earthquakes in central Italy.

And the strategic "culture factor" seems to have taken greater awareness, even in the European Union. Very good news come from the European Parliament's commitment to the establishment of the Guarantee Fund for loans, which allocates 122 million euros to intermediaries selected by the European Investment Fund to allow cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors to access interest-rate loans without any personal guarantees.

"Culture and creativity are the key to all productive sectors of «an Italy that plays like Italy» - said Ermete Realacci, president of Fondazione Symbola. They consolidate the mission of our country, oriented to quality and innovation: a soft power that crosses products and territories, a precious card. A form of economic diplomacy, in the context of what is shaping like the new Silk Road between East and West. An infrastructure also needed to address the challenges that we are facing: a man-oriented development, migration, the fight against terrorism and climate change. Human intelligence is in fact the most renewable and least polluting source of energy that we have. If Italy produces value and work focusing on culture and beauty, this helps the future. "

"Culture is a tremendous asset to protect and preserve, but also an asset of product development to bet on," said the president of Unioncamere (the Association of the Italian Chambers of Commerce), Ivan Lo Bello. "This is even more so today, with the technological revolution in place. The world we will face in the coming years will be guided by a series of radical transformations, focused above all in the sphere of work and skills. Only by focusing on creativity we can face this revolution in the best way. Data shows that those who work in the field of cultural and creative professions have a higher level of education (40.9% of the employees in this sector is graduated, versus 20% in other sectors) and gets a work income about 15% higher than average. Pointing to culture and creativity means, therefore, to focus on skills that will be able to cope with the 4.0 industry season."

Art bonus

The positive trend of the cultural system was also aided by the "Art Bonus", the tax credit introduced in 2014 thanks to which 5,216 patrons were born, who altogether have donated 123 million euro. A measure that is contributing to a potentially disruptive approach between artistic heritage and society's strengths.

What does "Cultural and Creative Production System" mean?

This analysis scans the Cultural and Creative Production System, or all those economic activities that produce cultural goods and services. Under this radar also are those activities that do not strictly produce cultural goods or services, but use culture as inputs to increase the symbolic value of their products, thus their competitiveness, which in the study are defined "creative-driven." The cultural production system is articulated in 5 macro sectors: 1) creative industries (architecture, communication, design); 2) cultural industries (cinema, publishing, video games, software, music and print); 3) historical/artistic heritage (museums, libraries, archaeological sites and historical monuments); 4) performing arts and visual arts: 5) creative-driven businesses (businesses not directly related to the sector but employing cultural and creative professions, such as advanced manufacturing and artistic handcrafts). From furniture to nautical, much of the ability of Made in Italy to compete in the world would be unthinkable without the link with design, with the cultural and creative industries.

Sectors, Trends

Cultural industries alone produce over 33 billion euro of added value, ie 37.1% of the wealth generated by the Cultural and Creative Production System, employing 492,000 people (32.9% of the industry). Also important is the contribution of the creative industries, capable of producing 12.9 billion of added value (14.4% of the total of the sector), with 253,000 employees (16.9%). Performing arts and visual arts instead generate 7.2 billion of euro of wealth and 129,000 jobs; to conservation and enhancement of historic and artistic heritage, we owe almost 3 billion euro of added value and over 53,000 employees. To these four areas, which represent the heart of the cultural and creative activities, is to be added the relevant result of the creative-driven activities: 33.5 billion euro of added value (37.2% of the entire cultural and creative system) and 568,000 people (38% of the total cultural and creative system).

Looking at the dynamics of the sectors, the striking figure is that, unlike the previous five years, all segments have positive trends, both in terms of added value and of employment. The most significant performances are those  connected to segments that have been positive in the last five years, such as design (+ 2.5% for added value and + 1.9% for employment), video games (+ 2.5% and + 1.7%) and the creative-driven production (+ 1.7% and + 1.5%). While talent remains at the heart of all these areas, to these positive data also contributed the significant increase in levels of education required by cultural and creative professions. Between 2011 and 2016, those working in the Cultural and Creative Production System and having a degree have risen from 33 to 41%: a significantly higher raise than that in the rest of the economy, with an increase of less than 3 points percentages (from 17 to 20%). A sign that this sector has focused in the growth of the skills as one of the responses to the crisis that has hit horizontally all areas.


Based on the data of the Register of Companies of the Italian Chambers of Commerce, the Cultural and Creative Production System counts at the end of 2016 413,752 companies, which account for 6.8% of the total of the economic activity of the country. In particular, companies operating in the fields of Core Culture, directly linked to the cultural and creative activities, are 289,112. To them the creative-driven component is to be added with 124,640 businesses, where all the economic activities are not strictly related to Culture but characterized by close synergies with the sector.

More than one enterprise out of three in the Core Culture is an individual company (98,474 companies, a 34.1% incidence). The joint-stock companies collect about 27% of assets, with peaks that even exceed the 50% of activities when dealing with the production of audiovisual content, video games, and software. Joint-stock companies are also widespread among the companies in the historical-artistic heritage field (31.9% of the total). In this context, also "other forms" stand out, with a non-negligible weight of the cooperatives (9.9%). The latter, in particular, which altogether represent the 2% of the companies in the Core culture, even make up to almost 36% of economic activities in the field of performing arts and visual arts.

Women's enterprises are particularly present in the culture system: in fact, 52,145 of them are active, representing 18% of the Core Culture enterprises. Many female entrepreneurs are focused on publishing (55%), followed by the communication field (18.6%).

With regard to youth organizations, they represent the 8% of the Core Culture component. Even here there is a huge amount of them in publishing, which accounts for over 40% of under 35 companies; and even here the communications segment follows (18.8%).

Business conducted by foreigners have a lower incidence, but not negligible: at the end of 2016 they represent 3.8% of the total of the Core Culture business.

Geography of culture

The province of Rome, with 10%, ranks first in Italy for incidence of added value of the Cultural and Creative Production System on the total economy. Second comes Milan (with 9.9%), third Torino with 8.6%. Following are Siena (8.2%), Arezzo (7.6%) and Florence (7.1%). And then: Aosta, 6.9%, Ancona (6.8%), Bologna and Modena, both at 6.6%.

In terms of employment, the leadership for incidence of jobs on the total economy is in Milan, with 10.1%. Next to Milan come Rome (8.7%), Arezzo (8.6%), Turin (8.2%), Florence (7.6%), Modena and Bologna and Trieste (all three at 7.5%), Monza-Brianza (7.3%) and Aosta (7.2%).

As for the geographic areas,  Center Italy is doing the lion's share: here, culture and creativity produce 7.4% of the added value. Next come the North-West (6.8%) and then the North-East, with an incidence of 5.5%. The South, rich in world-class cultural, historical and artistic heritage, is still unable to translate this into wealth: only 4.1% of the added value produced by the territory is to be attributed to culture, which is a problem but at the same time a relaunch opportunity, on which we are obliged to invest in the coming years. Similar dynamics are found for employment, with the Northeast, which in this case shows a slightly better performance than that of the North West.

At a regional level, the weight of the great metropolitan areas of cultural and creative specialization is felt. Lazio ranks first (8.9%) followed by Lombardy (7.2%). After the Valle d'Aosta, we find Piedmont with 6.7% and Marche with 6.0%. In terms of employment, the first four places are repeated in the order: first is Lazio (7.8%), followed by Lombardy, Valle d'Aosta and Piemonte. The fifth square, is in this case occupied by Emilia Romagna (6.5%).