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Valli bresciane - a district with steel in its blood'
Roma - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - According to historians, it is the oldest industrial area in Italy and perhaps in Europe. In the narrow Brescian valleys, penetrating upwards toward the Alps between the lakes of Iseo and Garda, iron workings existed at least two thousand years ago, when the Etruscans discovered two important metal deposits in Bovegno and in Collio. Since that time, the people there have never broken with this old tradition, so much so that it can be affirmed that iron, steel and mechanics are all part of their blood. And still today it represents one of the most extraordinary industrial complexes in Italy: 49 towns, reaching out over a surface of around 800 square kilometres, with a population of almost 300 thousand people. More than 20 thousand local units with 64 thousand people employed in industries, including 44 thousand working in the metallurgic and metal-mechanic sectors. Unemployment is very low, and there is a huge productivity which has always been on the increase thanks to the very determined hard work of the people, coupled with a constant updating in both technology and production.
The industrial area is not mono-specialist, but above all constitutes an assembly line, one which leads from the first iron and steel working of metals right up to the final mechanical handling, passing through the production of products in iron, steel, brass and other alloys, to the work on finished manufactures, arriving at the planning and production of machinery and mechanical parts. .Just only the metal-mechanics sector accounts for 1.600 firms employing more than 12 thousand people. The area is characterised by a significant presence of artisan firms specialised in the manufacture and working of metal products.
Also noteworthy is the presence of firms producing machinery, mechanical equipment and metallurgic products, above all in the weapons sector and weapons systems, traditionally established at an international level, including practically the entire Italian production of short and long light weapons. The fusion and working of metals is concentrated in the manufacture of locks and hinges, tools, taps, valves, knives and cutlery, saucepans, pots and pans, kitchen accessories and household articles.
Within this overall panorama there exists one case which is almost unique in Italy, and this concerns the town of Lumezzane. Inhabitants here number 24.000, of which 10.000 are employed in industry, with 80 percent employed in the production of metal products and more especially in the production of valves and household goods. Lumezzane has the highest number of entrepreneurs in Italy: one firm for each 13 inhabitants (that is, one firm for every three nuclear families); one firm in the industrial sector for every 24 inhabitants (in practice one for every seven nuclear families). Industrial firms have an average size of around 10 employees for each local unit, but of these around 70 percent work in firms with a number of employees ranging from one to ten. Industrial sales for Lumezzane are estimated as being around one billion euro annually, half of which derives from exports.
On the outskirts of Lumezzane there are a number of other small towns, with firms belonging to Lumezzane entrepreneurs , as well as a network of subcontracting firms. The overall number of firms, taking into consideration also the towns in the area surrounding Lumezzane, thus rises to 2.000 units, and that for employees to 20.000, with overall sales amounting to around 2 billion euro. The most important sectors of activity are taps (23.7 per cent of the total); valves (17.9 per cent), household goods (10.5 per cent). In addition, of course, there are the foundries for non-ferrous metals (10 per cent) whose export levels, taking an average of the different productive sectors, is never less than 50 percent of sales.
Location: Valli Bresciane
Specialised production: metallurgy, metalmechanics
Number of towns: 49
Surface area: 800 sq km
Population: 300.000 i
Number of firms: 21.000
Export sales quota: More than 50 percent