Since the 90s there has been a considerable increase in what is commonly called globalization. This international phenomenon (globalization) is a typical English term meaning “worldwide” and indicating the tendency of companies to extend their activities to the international markets.
They not only export their products but also built up new factories and plants abroad taking advantage of the lower wages and lower taxes that are required in some foreign countries. Also rates of exchange play an important part in international trade.
The Geographic Area
The geographic area of the Italian North-East is formed by three regions: Friuli Venetia Julia (capital Trieste), Venetia (capital Venice) and Trentino Alto Adige (capital Trent).
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), which caused an increase in the expansion of the markets towards Central Europe, the Central Institute of Statistics published the following data: the total population of the North-East amounted to 6.5 million inhabitants (57 million in Italy, 10,3 million in Czech Republic and 4.8 million in Finland), of whom 55.5% were employed in the tertiary sector (banks, insurance, trade and services); 10.7% were employed in agriculture and 33.7% in industry.
The industrial reality of the North-East Italy is based on the big industries situated mainly in the Venetia region (chemical, petroleum-chemical, mechanical and metallurgical plants). Very important are also the textile and clothing industries of Benetton and Stefanel (but Stefanel is risking to fail in 2016) with their network of franchising selling points, the glasses factories and the port of Venice. Along with these big enterprises in North-East Italy there is also a great number of small and medium-size factories.
In the Friuli Venetia Julia region particularly important are the metal-mechanic and food industries (in Trieste and Udine), and the cutlery and furniture manufactures (in Pordenone). The port of Trieste, equipped for the container traffic is also the terminal of an oil pipeline linked with Bavaria in Germany. Of great relevance are also the shipyards in Monfalcone (Gorizia province) where the biggest cruise liners are built.
In Trentino-Alto Adige, in addition to the hydroelectric plants, the main industries have developed in the valley of the river Adige. In Bolzano / Bozen (bilingualism Italian, German) there are chemical, mechanical and textile factories. Tourism is very important, not only for the world-wide attraction of Venice, but also for winter sports: Sappada, Cortina (Belluno province); Val Gardena, Val Pusteria (Bolzano province).
In Friuli the most famous ski resorts are: Forni Avoltri, Forni di Sopra, Ravascletto, Tarvisio, Sella Nevea (Udine province); Piancavallo (Pordenone). Remarkably important for tourism are also the famous seaside resorts of: Iesolo, Caorle and Bibione (Venice province); Lignano Sabbiadoro (Udine); Grado (Gorizia) and Sistiana (Trieste).
Thanks for photography to Acciaierie Bertoli Safau, steelmaking division of the Danieli Group
The Praise of Bill Clinton
In 1996 the President of the Unites States spent a few but significant praising words about the strong presence of small and medium-size enterprises in the Italian North-East. Before him some professors of English and American universities wondered why there was such a lively industrial activity in this area. The answer may be found not only in the working capacity of the people, but also in a sound political power which will acquire further autonomy in a near future.
Some politicians together with artisan associations and some trade unionists of the catholic area have recently founded the political party of the North-East; it is a new political movement gathering people dissatisfied with the traditional political parties.
The performances of North-East Italy
Half of the assets of the 1995 Italian balance of trade was produced in this North-East (almost 22 thousand billion Italian lire). The export per person in the North-East is above 11 million Italian lire, the double of the national average. In the North-East the increase of the national gross product was over 5%, the unemployment rate was 5.8%, while the national average was 12%.
A national survey published in the press («Corriere della Sera» of the 7.th February 1997) pointed out that the North-East is the area where people spend more money on unnecessary expenses such as tourism and flowers.
Manzano, Straw of chairs, half of '900. Thanks for photography to Manzano turismo
The Chair Triangle
It is a flat area including three small towns (Corno di Rosazzo, Manzano and San Giovanni al Natisone) where the manufacture of chairs is the biggest in the world. This area is developing into an “industrial district” of then small towns with 1,200 enterprises, aiming at improving the transport network, logistics, the managerial and vocational training, taking advantage of the European Union programs for small and medium-size enterprises. In 1998 they produced 40 million of chairs: 80% of the Italian production; 50% of the European production and the 30% of the world. They employment 12,000 engaged.
The Territorial Agreements
In Italy new relationships between public and private sectors are arising. Orchestration is the keyword of these new relations. Legislative measures are being taken to maximize the public intervention with the agreement of enterprises.
Such new laws are meant to give breath to economic sectors in depressed areas and in areas of industrial recession.
A historical Outline
The place name Friuli from the etymologic point of view comes from “Forum Iulii” ( the place of Julius). The historical Latin abbreviation was: “Fr. Iulii”. The ancient pronunciation perhaps was: “Foroiùlii, or Friùli”, reading the abbreviation.
This is the ancient Latin name for “Cividale del Friuli”, which means the trading post of Julius Caesar, who founded the town in 52 B.C. on a previous Gallic Celtic settlement. Aquileia, born as a Latin colony in 181 B.C., was a famous fluvial port and became the second town of the Empire in the second century A.D., with almost 200 thousand inhabitants (nowadays Udine has less than 100 thousand inhabitants).
In 568 A.D. Alboin, the king of the Longobards, arrived in Italy from Pannonia, the Hungarian plain. The Longobards, called in ancient times “Winnili”, were a Scandinavian people and they founded the Friulian dukedom (capital Cividale). The feudalism began with Charlemagne.
After the decline of Aquileia there was the rise of Venice which held its political and military power on the present North-East from 1420 to the signing of the Treaty of Campoformido in 1797, between Napoleon and Austria, which marked the end of the “Dogi” (political leaders of the time).
In 1740 Maria Theresia from Austria transformed Trieste from a small fishermen port into the most important trading and insurance Centre of the Hapsburg Empire. In 1842-’45 the Austrian government urged the Representatives of the Stock Exchange in Trieste to organize a mission in the regions of the Red Sea and the West Indies to investigates about the possibility of navigation through the Suez Isthmus, which was transformed into canal in 1869.
From 1866 Venice, the Venetia region, the Friuli region with Udine became part of the Kingdom of Italy, born in 1860. In 1918 after the First World War also Trent, Gorizia and Trieste were united to Italy.
The economic structure of Udine province and Friuli Venetia Julia 1996-2011
How is the economic structure of Udine province? See the Graph n. 1 – Provincial Value-added of Udine, please. In 1996 it’s mainly based on industrial production which accounts for 30,3% of the total added value. It’s followed by cottage industry with 18%, commerce with 12,9% and services with 8,9%.
Transportation and forwarding make up 7,9%, while finance and tourism amount to 4,9% of the total added value. Finally agriculture accounts for 3% of added value in the province of Udine.
The economy is changing. The tertiary sector is running, with the new technologies services industry. Now you see in the Graph n. 2 the focus of the Friuli Venetia Julia enterprises, that is based on InfoCamere Data. In 2011 it’s mainly based on commerce and refreshment which accounts for 30,8% of the total added value. It’s followed by agriculture and fishing with 17,9%, services for enterprises with 17,8%, buildings with 16,2%, industry only 10,9% and services for persons with 6,4%.
The North-east economy in 2015
If you look to the 500 top enterprises of the Friuli Venetia Julia region there is an optimistic situation. The names of these primary companies, published on the «Messaggero Veneto» are: Fincantieri S.p.A., Danieli & C. S.p.A., Fratelli Csulich S.p.A., Fir.Fer S.p.A., Rizzani De Eccher S.p.A., Inca Properties S.r.l., Riello Group S.p.A., Illycaffé S.p.A., Acegasapsamga S.p.A., Savio Macchine Tessili S.p.A., Cividale S.p.A., Fantoni S.p.A., Stroili Oro S.p.A., Ital Tbs S.p.A., Dynamic Technologies S.p.A., Bofrost Italia S.p.A., B. Pacorini S.r.l., Ilcam S.p.A. e Limacorporate S.p.A.
In this top list there are not the insurance and finance sectors. The author is Stefano Micelli, director of Foundation North-East and professor of Economics and Enterprises management to the Venice “Ca’ Foscari” University. He is also the director of the Venice International University.
From January to September 2016 the export of Udine province were as in 2015. It was 3.713,3 million of euro as to 3.770,8 for last year, by Udine Confindustria Research Department, ISTAT Data and “Realtà industriale”, gennaio 2017.
See now the Graph n. 3 to read the export of Udine province in January – September 2015-2016, million of euro, also in this table.
Year 2016 2015
Machinerys & Devices 1020,6 1004,9
Metallurgy 893,3 825,2
Metal products 388 293,7
Furniture 334 335,4
Electrical equipment 218 199
Computers 72,7 86,6
Rubber & plastic 161,7 165,9
Food & beverage 202,4 206,4
Wood 57,2 60,8
Paper 39,6 41,2
Chemical products 85,7 87,8
Pharmaceutical product 34,4 27,3
Medical & dental equipment 83,5 61,6
Thanks for photography to Fincantieri S.p.A.
- AA. VV., L’economia del Friuli dalla depressione allo sviluppo, l’evoluzione di un secolo, Udine, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Udine, 1996.
- Archivio di Stato di Trieste, Archivio Camera di Commercio, buste 17/488 e 490.
- “Indici e performance delle prime 500 aziende del Friuli Venezia Giulia”, «Messaggero Veneto», Nordest Economia, gennaio 2017.
- Gian Carlo Menis, Storia del Friuli, Udine, Società Filologica Friulana, 7.ma edizione, 1990.
- Raimondo Strassoldo, Giovanni Delli Zotti (eds), Cooperation and Conflict in Border Areas, Milano, Angeli, 1982.
- Ugo Tucci, Mercanti, navi, monete nel Cinquecento veneziano, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1981.- Elio Varutti, Laura Morandini, Economic performances in North-East Italy. A special lecture at the “B. Stringher” Institute of Udine for the student exchange and partnership with the Kokkola “Ammattioppilaitos” (Finland) and with the Brno “Business and Hotel School” (Czech Republic), Istituto Professionale di Stato per i Servizi Commerciali, Udine, 1997, typescript, pp. 1-9.