Italy, a cultural superpower

Updated 02 June 2012
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Italy, a cultural superpower

The Canadian-American economist John Kenneth Galbraith, to explain the miracle of post war Italian reconstruction, claimed that “the real reason is that Italy has incorporated in its products an essential component of culture, and cities such as Milan, Parma, Florence, Siena, Venice, Rome, Naples and Palermo, while having very poor infrastructure, display in their standard of living a huge amount of beauty”.
This is the source from where the creativity of our production system, based on beauty and harmony, originates. Italian design and the greater part of what is considered beautiful in the world identify with Italian products.
There are certainly other, more ancient civilizations, but surely, no other has steadily produced as much as Italy throughout the centuries. And even in periods of decadence, there were no interruptions in the creative process in all fields; from the visual arts to architecture, engineering, music, literature, cinema, philosophy, law, the political and social sciences, the exact sciences, in contexts that have spread out throughout the world absorbing contributions from other civilizations.
The Etruscan roots, Greek-Roman and Judeo- Christian, the contribution of Islam, the immensity of the Renaissance, have all taken from the world, then elaborated, enriched and returned to the world the highest in knowledge and creation. This ability is typical of the greatest civilizations, although none have done so with such intensity as our peninsula.
Italy is the country that counts the highest number of UNESCO cultural and natural sites (47 in a world list of 936). From the North to the South, all sites - well beyond those surveyed by UNESCO - testify this magnitude. A tremendous responsibility: a great heritage to be preserved. This great historical and artistic heritage makes Italy the first in the world despite its rather limited size - about 60 million people who reside in an area of just 300 thousand square km .
But if culture is well rooted in our past, it is also a pillar of the present, of progress and sustainability. The cultural industry is a significant part of the production of wealth and employment in Italy :
4.9% of GDP ,1,400,000 employees, 400,000 businesses involved. The Italian film production industry is the third in the world. In the last ten years as much as 1207 films have been put on the market. Book industry is also a strong asset: Italy counts a very high number of publishing companies (7,590 in 2010); the De Agostini Group is ranking 10th in the world for sales. Turin, with the “Salone Internazionale del Libro”, hosts the second largest book fair in Europe, the first one since 2006 for the number of visitors.
Not to mention the indirect but powerful (not easily measurable) effect of culture on the promotion in the world of Italy as a top tourist destination. Italy’s heritage draws more than 45 million visitors every year, making tourism our primary industry, accounting for 8.6% of GDP and makes Italy a brand of quality and beauty.
Besides, Italy has been supporting
archaeological, anthropological and ethnological missions abroad for many years. These missions are not only scientific, but are also a valuable tool for training of local operators and provide technology transfer in some sectors, such as archaeology, restoration and protection of cultural heritage, in which Italy has an internationally recognized level of excellence. This activity also represents a commitment to actively contribute to intercultural dialogue and development policies in many countries, even remote areas, where missions are sometimes the only Italian cultural presence.
Italy is second only to China in the export of design products, for a global value of $ 24,802 millions. It is also second (to Germany) for the number of registered patents (2003-2009).


2018 Holiday Gift Guide: What to get for the ones you love this festive season

2018 Holiday Gift Guide
Updated 12 December 2018
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2018 Holiday Gift Guide: What to get for the ones you love this festive season

DUBAI: Here are some gift ideas for this holiday season.

Long-distance love
Lovebox Spinning Heart Messenger ($100)
A 21st-century version of the classic love letter — perfect to let distant loved ones know you’re thinking of them. When you send a new message through the app, the heart on the recipient’s box revolves and your message is displayed on the screen inside.

Point-and-click. And print
HP Sprocket 2-in-1 Camera Printer ($160)
This smartphone-sized instant camera also lets you print your Instagram pics while you’re on the move. So now you can let disinterested strangers in the real world, too, know just how perfect the presentation of your smashed avocado toast was this morning.

For the watch lover
A Lange & Söhne Triple Split ($160,000)
This 100-piece limited-edition white-gold watch is one of the most complex ever created, with 567 components. The maker claims its “the first mechanical split-seconds chronograph in the world that allows multi-hour comparative time measurements,” and we’re not going to argue.

For the absent-minded
Tile Mate ($25)
Put Tile Mate on your key ring and save yourself from minor meltdowns. Can’t find your keys? Simply fire up the app and listen for the signature tune, or check the on-screen map. What if you lose your phone? Press the button and your phone will ring — even if it’s on silent. Lost your keys and your phone? Oh…

Take your tablet old-school
iPad TV stand ($30)
This cardboard faux-TV set from the Seventies is a great little placeholder for your iPad (or other tablet). For a really authentic nostalgia trip, set all your videos to 144p.

Family fun
Don’t Step In It board game ($20)
Put on a blindfold, spin the spinner, and take that many steps across the mat. And hope you don’t tread in the strategically placed poop. (The poop should be fake — we can’t stress that enough.) The weirdest thing about this weird game is that no one thought of it sooner. Seeing someone else tread in poop is always funny.

For the coffee freak
Espro Ultralight Press ($40)
This 16-oz French press (and vacuum-insulated “hydration bottle”) is perfect for the discriminating traveler for whom a sachet of Nescafe in their hotel room just won’t do.


For the coffee geek
R2-D2 Coffee Press ($25)
Everyone’s favorite service droid (yes, BB-8, *everyone’s*) now performing everyone’s favorite service — preparing coffee.

For the audiophile
Shinola Runwell Turntable ($2,500)
The ongoing vinyl revival means any music-loving hipster worthy of their goatee is once again buying LPs. This sleek belt-driven turntable has a built-in phono preamp.

The year’s best-selling book
‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’ ($25)
Michael Wolff’s controversial exposé of what (he says) happened behind the scenes in the first nine month’s of Donald Trump’s presidency tops the bestseller list for 2018. Wolff’s ‘access-all-areas’ pass to the West Wing makes for fascinating reading, regardless of your political affiliations.

The year’s best-selling perfume
Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel ($100)
Apparently, it’s 2018’s most-popular smell-in-a-bottle, so you can’t really go wrong with this citrus-y “sexy, fresh Oriental fragrance.”

For the movie buff
100 Movies Scratch Off poster ($15)
You know those films people keep telling you that you must see? Here’s 100 of them on a single poster that you can scratch as you go to reveal the ones you’ve actually watched. Or the ones you feel like you have to pretend you’ve watched.

The shopaholic’s über-hamper
The Covent Garden Shopping Edit ($13,180)
This is only good if you’re planning a visit to London sometime soon, but for many GCC-dwellers, that’s a regular trip. This hamper features must-have gifts from Covent Garden’s most exclusive brands, including Danse Lenté, Penhaligon’s, Mulberry, The Shop at Bluebird, and more. It also includes a $6,400 voucher to spend on a watch at Bucherer.

For the escapist
Oculus Go Standalone VR Headset ($210)
Running away to another world is probably going to be high on everyone’s wish list for 2019. A trip to Mars is potentially lethal (not to mention Elon Musk could be your travel companion), so we recommend this all-in-one virtual-reality set for now.

Get some sleep
LectroFan White Noise Machine ($50)
Help mask those things that go bump (or screech, or whatever that adorable sound of young fellas revving their engines in the street outside is called) in the night with this ambient noise generator, complete with timer and volume control.

For the person who has everything
A castle in Italy ($18.25 million)
Nothing says ‘I love you’ like an 11th-century Florentine castle. Or any castle, really. This one comes with two swimming pools, two farmhouses, an olive grove, vineyard, and 37 hectares of woodland. And serious bragging rights.