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Schio, two Centuries of Textiles
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia)
The textile district of Schio-Valdagno, in the Veneto province of Vicenza, can be considered one of the first geographic areas in which the industrialization process, which involved the entire peninsula between the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, began. However the district first took root at the time of the Veneto Republic and its growth, thanks to the socio-cultural situation developed by the entrepreneurs, was not confined to the most famous pioneers of the area (Rossi, Marzotto), but above to all the important lower level entrepreneurs of numerous small companies, which brought benefits to the activities of other sectors surrounding this zone. In fact around the historic centres of Schio, Tiene and Vldagno, linked industries were developed which, since the beginning of the 19th century, have given life to other industrial areas, which today have become districts like Arzignano and the Valle del Chiampo. However, the movement to a state of economic well being occurred in an almost explosive manner, particularly during the last ten years, also through the exploitation of localism, the orientation towards exportation and a notable flexibility in production.
Today the district comprises 35 towns with a total of 759 enterprises, mainly small and medium firms. The most important productive area is that of wool and is wholly directed to medium-high quality products. At present 10,180 workers are employed in textiles and 13,418 in clothing and packaging. The production environment is highly fragmented but with a larger number of enterprises concentrating on the international markets although they also continue to maintain close relationships within their world of small enterprises. In the district there is also a strong tendency towards exporting, principally to Europe, North America and East Asia, for an annual total of 750 million euro for the textile market and 689 million for clothing. The district mainly concentrates on two types of activity: textiles in the strictest sense of the word, the historic product of the area, and clothing-packaging, which represents the newer sector. The typical product is mainly finished goods destined for the end market (about two-thirds), while the rest are occupied with finished goods utilised by other production companies. The entrepreneurial field is divided amongst the large companies or large groups (like the Marzotto and Diesel Groups), small and medium enterprises and suppliers and sub-suppliers.
Such has been the development of this productive area, which is now called the "Vicentino model". The success of this industrial reality is due to four elements: a very high industrial intensity (Vicenza is one of the most industrialised provinces in Italy: a phenomenon that came into being around the textile centers of Valdagno and Schio, which "fertilised" the ground on which were subsequently built innumerable entrepreneurial enterprises); the spread of entrepreneurialism (the productive system is made up of small and medium enterprises and the manufacturing culture is extremely prevalent); the territorial spread of productive enterprises (the province does not depend on the chief town and the territory is like an urbanised countryside with a multi-centered economy: a factory for every church tower); and a vocation for exportation (that guarantees great solidity to the Vicentino produce).
This is an exceptional outcome when one remembers that in the years of the great migratory exodus that began at the beginning of the 20th century until the Sixties, a third of all Italian emigrants came from Veneto and over a period of a hundred years it saw the departure of more than 5 million people, the equivalent of the entire present population of the region.
Area: Province of Vicenza
Specialised produce: textiles-clothing
Number of towns: 35
Territory: 970 square kilometres
Population: 273,000 inhabitants
Number of companies: 759
Overall invoiced sum: 3 billion euro
Exported under invoice: 50%