Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Snippets Of Italy

What does 'Made in Italy' mean today?


A country that continues to explore its artistic soul through creative minds like Beppe Giacobbe.


Meet architect Renzo Piano. The brilliant mind behind the Centre Georges Pompidou, Shard London Bridge and The New York Times Building.




Rebirth of Matera:

“You don’t think of a cave being complex architecturally,” says American architect Anne Toxey, author of Materan Contradictions, who has been studying the Sassi for over 20 years. “But I was blown away by their intricate structures.” The most elaborate stonework dates from the Renaissance, when many caves were adorned with new facades, or had their ceilings extended to make vaulted rooms. Today, carved stone stairways still connect arches, attics, belfries and balconies, each grafted onto the other like a dynamic Cubist sculpture. Hidden behind iron grilles are rock-hewn churches, created by Byzantine monks, with splendidly frescoed interiors. On the opposite side of the ravine, on a plateau called the Murgia, more mysterious caves stare back like vacant eyes."

“Matera is one of the oldest living cities in the world in terms of continuity,” Antonio Nicoletti, an urban planner from Matera, told me. “You can find older cities in Mesopotamia, but they have not been occupied in modern times. Where else can you now sleep in a room that was first occupied 9,000 years ago?” Estimates of the earliest occupation of the site vary, but archaeologists have found artifacts in local caves dating to the Neolithic period and even earlier.

"...In southern Italy, the past has often helped rescue the present. Ever since the excavation of Pompeii brought grand tours to Naples in the 18th century, historical sites have lured foreign travelers to impoverished outposts. But Matera may be Europe’s most radical rags-to-riches story. Located in the instep of the Italian boot, the town has always been an isolated, forgotten part of Basilicata, among the least populated, least visited and least understood regions of Italy. Even in the 19th century, few travelers ventured through its arid, desolate landscapes, which were known to be full of briganti, or brigands. "

Stories like Matera only add to Italy's place as one of the world's greatest museum of civilization.

Mobiles Drive Fashion Sales

Yoox Net-A-Porter has embraced Apple iPhones and mobile devices as part of its sales platform.

CEO Federico Marchetti:

"...Around 50 percent of our sales came from people ordering on smartphones," Marchetti told AFPTV in an interview at Milan fashion week.

"Frankly speaking if the iPhone had not been invented that figure would be much lower. So I have to say thank you to Steve Jobs. It is thanks to him that we can do our business..."

"...Marchetti believes the next wave of growth will be powered by a new generation of dedicated fashion-retail smartphone apps, something he sees as even more important in the short term than 
the potential of emerging markets.

"I see something more tomorrow in the smartphone rather than India," he said.

Maserati Enters Crossover Market

With the Levante, Maserati has created its first SUV.  I believe the 102 year-old company considered a similar endeavor as early as the late 1920s ( several decades before the genre took off) but abandoned the idea.

I'm not sure what to make of this decision. Maserati's brand is a unique one and to enter such a market pits them against companies much more entrenched like Lexus, BMW and specifically Porsche.

I suppose Italy has to start somewhere. Maybe they see changing demand for such cars but will Italians go for it? Will North Americans consider the Maserati option instead of their sedans?

More to the point, the Levante - fitted with a 350hp V6 - sports the similar design of competitors and hardly differentiates itself despite its legendary roots:

"...The new Maserati SUV is based on the Quattroporte and Ghibli architecture, further evolved and refined to meet the expectations of this market segment, in which Maserati will compete for the first time."

I think where it it really displays an Italian edge is with the interior:

"...The interior has been created with the finest materials, most exquisite to the touch, from optional premium leather to Ermenegildo Zegna silk, made in Trivero by the Zegna wool mill with a patented process."

The SUV retails for about $76 000 USD.

Quotes from Autoblog.
Image from RoadandTrack.