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Treviso, The Furniture Miracle
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - The success of the Veneto-Friuli furniture district is unique, in that it is not the result of a series of significant events or sudden changes, but is due to the obstinacy and tenacity of this people with a centuries-old farming tradition. Entrepreneurial development in the towns along the banks of the river Livenza in the provinces of Treviso and Pordenone, is in fact relatively recent, dating back to the post-war years. In this period, in fact, a slow social and economic transformation began to take place, turning this area of the North-East between Friuli and Veneto into one of Italy's most flourishing and wealthy centres in the wood and furnishing sector. The path which led to this business development originated in the farming and craft tradition, in an area where the art of woodworking has been practised for centuries. Then came the generalised leap from the farming life to industry, starting in the mid-1950s, when a large number of small businesses were established, characterised by the fact - perhaps unique in Italy - that they were almost always set up using the financial resources of families, friends and local townspeople. It was almost as if industrial development was of personal importance for the entire population, who participated in the expectations of the protagonists not only emotionally, but in concrete terms.
Today, the Veneto-Friuli furniture district accounts for around 700 businesses with over 9100 empleyees in the Treviso area, and over 500 businesses with 8800 employees in that of Pordenone: overall the entire zone is today the leading furniture district in Italy. Products range from furniture for the home (kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, children's rooms), to office furniture and components (doors, drawers, and semifinished goods), and are aimed at the mid range of the market.
The industry is known in Italy and abroad above all for its specialisation in kitchen and office furniture. These products in fact account for around half of the turnover realised by the businesses in the area, which is almost €1 billion, mainly in the mid range of the market. The district's process of development has seen many new businesses aiming to serve the lower end of the market, and it is only with consolidation and specialisation that many of these have considered the opportunity of targeting the higher sectors of the market. At the same time, the average size of the businesses has also grown, even though they remain highly specialised and continue to move towards production decentralisation. This has permitted the more efficient division of tasks, allowing the final businesses to concentrate on their main activities. While this process has helped keep the size of the businesses under control, on the other hand it has produced a demand for firms specialised in components, some of which have become extremely large.
The success achieved by some businesses has also encouraged the formation of a layer of companies assuming the role of leaders, leading over the years to the gradual construction of a business hierarchy and industrial groups, within which the major companies deal with the coordination and management of other producers, service companies and commercial operators. At the same time, numerous training centres and professional schools have been set up, and systems of widespread education introduced. This has made it possible to ensure an increasingly high standard of professional skills.
Area: Provinces of Treviso and Pordenone
Product specialisation: furniture
Number of town council districts: 28
Surface area: 600 km2
Population: 54,000 inhabitants
Number of businesses: 1,200
People employed: 18,000
Turnover: 990 million euros
Exports: approx. 50%