Italy Today

Italy, the Extraordinary Commonplace

Italian Government’s fight against stereotypes

Italy, the Extraordinary Commonplace

Claudia Astarita

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What do you know about Italy and Italian people? Is it a country of pizza makers? The land of Dolce Vita Lovers? A nation of happy-go-lucky children and party addicts? A country of people who talk through hands? Are Italians food enthusiasts and football maniacs? Yes, this is all true, but we actually have much more than that.

A few days ago, during the welcome session of the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Italian Deputy Minister Carlo Calenda presented a video produced by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) whose aim was the one of debunking commonplaces and stereotypes about Italy by highlighting for each of them the real, sometimes hidden, strength of the Italian industrial system.

Beyond commonplaces, many foreigners are aware that Italy is pretty strong and well known for fashion, design, and food products. What is usually less known is that Italy is pretty good for major infrastructures, manufactured goods, machinery, pharmaceutical- biomedical products and aerospace technologies, too. What the new government video highlights new sorts of "Made in Italy" that Italians have to be proud of. And indeed they are, as the video recorded hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube in just a few days.

"Italy the Extraordinary Commonplace" explains that Italy is a world leader in the creation of major infrastructures, thanks to its 1000 construction sites in 90 countries; it has the world's 5th largest trade surplus in manufactured goods; it enjoys the largest increase in pharmaceutical and biomedical exports in the world and it is Europe's second largest exporter. Italy is also the third country in the world to send a satellite into orbit, and it is home to leading aerospace technologies. Last but not least, it is difficult to forget that Italy is the country with the greatest number of Unesco World Heritage sites. The Italian Government is right, there are many things we should be proud of, but this does not imply we can relax or take it easy. To remain competitive at a global level, we all need to invest more on ourselves.

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