This expression is frequently used to
indicate an industrial scene composed prevalently of small
and medium-sized companies "distributed widely over the
territory but not scattered, which harmonize well with what
is defined as a polycentered territorial layout".
The manufacturing scene in Vicenza is formed largely of small companies, 65% of which have been founded recently; however there is no lack of large companies, of national and international importance, with a tradition worthy of the greatest respect.
Vicenza's industries can boast an overall sales figure of about 20 thousand billion lire, yearly export figures of about 6 thousand billion, a total of 115 thousand employees and an unemployment level of only 5%, considered normal. These results have been obtained thanks to the flexibility, open attitude to technological innovation and great disposition towards foreign markets of Vicenza's industries which contribute over 60% of the commercial balance of the Veneto, always a positive one.
The vocation for export of Vicenza's manufacturers is one of
the decisive factors in this development; about three
thousand companies are habitual exporters and alone
contribute 1/3 of the region's export total, thus leading
the Veneto classification.
With a 4% share of the total national export figures, Vicenza is one of the leading provinces in Italy.
To further exploit and strengthen these positions, the Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Industrialists (founded in 1945 and to which belong 1920 companies with a total of over 80,000 employees) have favoured the constitution of a consortium of Vicenza industries called "Vicenza Export" which works to encourage the development of the export market. The open attitude to international markets and the variety and specialization of the production departments have enabled Vicenza's economy to be present in all industrial sectors. Of these the four most important sectors are the following:
- the metal-working industry, keystone of the province's economy and occupying the greatest number of workers, characterized by the great variety of items produced: machine tools, general mechanical items, electro-mechanical and electronic goods, metal structural work and iron metallurgy. In the last of these the Beltrame Steelworks are the most distinguished for the importance of the foreign markets on which they operate. - the textile industry, which boasts a long tradition having been present in the Vicenza area since the early 19th century, today includes a number of leading companies at international level. In fact, the Marzotto-Lanerossi textile group is the largest in Europe in this sector. The textile industry is integrated with the clothing industry, with companies specializing in all kinds of production which are particularly active on foreign markets; - the gold-working industry, composed of about 800 companies, strongly inclined to the export market and making a decisive contribution to Vicenza's commercial balance. The three international exhibitions held every year make Vicenza the capital of goldsmithry; - the tanning industry, with a high degree of specialization and a great variety of products ranging from shoes to all kinds of leather goods.The present economic system is the result of the productive mentality and inborn hard-working nature of the people of Vicenza which pushes them "to set up business on their own", founding companies that are initially family-run .
This urge to become businessmen shows no signs of wearing out, indeed thanks to the careful policy followed by the Association of Small and Medium-sized Industries, there is an increasing number of companies being founded, aimed at satisfying new needs, especially in the services sector.
Alongside the industrial system, handicrafts also play an important role with 24 thousand companies, marked by a high degree of dynamism, about 70 thousand operators and as many as 300 different trades, from the most traditional to those with a high technological content.
The extensive diffusion of handicrafts in the territory has helped to keep unemployment figures low, especially among the young, and to limit the numbers of commuters, but above all it keeps alive and develops the entrepreneur mentality.
The manufacturing sectors in which handicrafts make their greatest contribution are the metal-working industry, wood- working and furniture, shoes and clothing, goldsmithry and ceramics.
The Association of Craftsmen is especially dedicated to combining the diffusion of technological innovations with the ability to maintain the traditional content of their trade, making an effort to encourage the relationship between master craftsman and apprentice, which is fundamental for fostering creativity.
Vicenza's exceptional economic development originated forty
years ago with an economy strictly bound to the
agricultural world, without traumatic breaks or social
Since then the workers engaged in the primary sector have fallen from 60% of the active population to the present 6%, without in any way reducing the production rate. Indeed, from the point of view of farming, with as many as 40 thousand farms covering 200 thousand hectares, the province of Vicenza is one of the most interesting, thanks to the technological improvements that have been made in agriculture and in the link with the food industry.
Low-income crops have been abandoned in favour of sowable crops (maize and soya) and vineyards (quality grapes).
Dairy produce is especially distinguished, with typical products such as Asiago d.o.c. cheese; the rearing of dairy and beef cattle prevails in the south of the province , while the wine-producing sector, with the three areas of controlled origin, Berici Hills, Gambellara and Breganze, offers an interesting variety of products.
This complex economic system is supported by the commercial
distribution system with over two thousand wholesale
operators, 12 thousand retailers and more than 2 thousand
The Association of Tradesmen has pursued a successful policy and made careful decisions to ensure that a high number of retailers still survive alongside the large shopping complexes. The good trend of the economy in the Vicenza area is certainly reflected in the positive trends of credit with an annual increase of investments of 15%, higher than the national average, and a yearly increase in deposits of over 10%.
The energy of its entrepreneurs and the affluence of the area have attracted all the major Italian banks to Vicenza.
The promotional activities and the events organized by the Vicenza Trade Fair, which attract tens of thousands of visitors and economic operators from all over the world, bear witness to the complex and many-sided vitality of Vicenza's economy.
The promotion carried out on all the major world markets, the three goldsmithry reviews and the numerous other specialized reviews inter-rest the requirements of the various categories of entrepreneurs, engaged in strengthening the position of Vicenza's products abroad.