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Sanremo: the flower paradise
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - More than a century of history, lived through with the determination shown by its people who never gave in when faced with the asperities of a rugged land, squeezed between the sea and the mountains. An extremely temperate microclimate that favours the most northern cultivation of olives and at the same time represents a paradise for flowers. This is the floriculture district of Sanremo, (www.sanremoflowermarket.it) located on the Ligurian Riviera, the European flower capital. Seven thousand firms, 27 thousand employees, yearly sales bordering on 600 million euro, half of which for the foreign market: these are the figures for an area of productivity that found its own way to develop, despite the asperities of a rugged land, which only through very arduous work to transform it into a perfect geometry of terraces, has become fertile and fruitful.
Today, the floriculture area extends to over more than 3.300 hectares, making the Sanremo flower market the liveliest and busiest in the whole of Europe, a centre of productive and technological excellence which stretches from Ventimiglia as far as Albenga. A system of firms, which start from direct floriculture production (6.000 firms only in the Imperia area), to botanical and technological research (80 structures involved, a good part of which are private), right up to the firms dealing with logistics (40 firms), to those providing technical and plant engineering supplies (130 local units) and for wholesalers and exporters (more than 580 firms). Therefore, an almost unique case of vertical integration which has allowed them to take over in a permanent way a very important quota of the European floricultural market and has guaranteed a constant growth for more than a century.
Floriculture in Sanremo originated at the end of the 19th century, with the production of field-grown cut flowers (daffodils and wallflowers) and green ferns. In the first years of the 20th century, thanks to the favourable climatic conditions, that permitted floriculture production also during the winter, and to the development of rail transport, Sanremo was able to create close trading relations with the foreign market, mostly with countries in North Europe. "Industrial" production of cut flowers starts during that period, with the "outside" cultivation of carnations, made possible thanks to the mild climate of the Ligurian Riviera. This was the time of the so-called "belle époque", and the message sent by Sanremo through its floriculture production was so important as to determine changes in the local toponymy. Sanremo therefore became officially known as "The City of Flowers" and the whole of the Ligurian coast has taken on the name "The Riviera of flowers". Even the motorway which at the end of the Thirties connected Lombardy to Liguria, is now known as "The Motorway of Flowers".
But the secret of this success does not only lie in the ability to exploit such a problematic land, but also in using skills in the innovation and re-conversion of productivity that appear really extraordinary, when looking at the medium-sized firms in the district, usually consisting of only four employees per firm. The local producers, in fact, have had the intelligence to follow the trends of the market by implementing over the last twenty years a radical re-conversion of cultivations, progressing during the Seventies from a production of only carnations and field flowers to intensely cultivated roses and other cut flowers. On the trading side, what could have seemed to be a handicap was in the end transformed into a factor of competitive advantage, because this trading policy of an artisan nature has led to the development and detailed care of the packaging process, which in the floriculture sector has taken on great importance.
Area: Ligurian Riviera
Specialisation: Nursery gardening
Number of towns: 136
Surface area: 2.701 km2
Population: 109.000 inhabitants
Number of firms: 7.000
Export quota of sales: more than 50 percent