The Many Tastes of Italy
La vita è troppo breve
per bere vini mediocri.
Just one word: “La bella Italia”. Every European can’t deny of having used this expression at least once just to identify the country with three things people love most: sunny beaches, shopping and Wine.The beauty of Italy, especially of its landscapes and its cultural heritage is well known and admired everywhere, not only in Europe but also around the world. But, as everyone knows, All that glitters ain’t gold. In fact, during these years foreigners have been discovered also Italian weaknesses. What has made Italy so famous, has being put aside by the so called Berlusconi “bunga bunga” and his joyful lifestyle.
Italy, tired of being pointed out as a country leaded by “Berlusconianism”, has being promoting itself, struggling to “advertise” and re-sell its traditional image, that tastes of wine. The aim is simple: to make people thinking of an Italy made up of fruity smell of the countryside, of the strong taste of wine that is “poetry coming from the earth”. Whoever has been to Italy knows that behind the stereotype of an Italy made up of Berlusconi, Pizza and Pasta there is something more. There is wine.
Wine tradition is set in Italian culture since ancient time, since it firstly appeared on the Romans table, accompanied by the so well know “conviviality” made up of food, philosophy and women, of course. The Italian love for red wine has been transmitted from one generation to the next, as well as the spirit of conviviality, unity and common sense of belonging, as a result of its strong taste. That’s why for Italians wine means tradition, means culture, means Italy. The aim of re-constructing the nation’s image from top to bottom, counting on the promotion of top class wine as nation brand is almost clear. This will mean exporting abroad not only quality, but also ancient culture and Italian traditions.
Italy has been enhancing its wine culture through a series of festivals, itineraries and competitions, such as the International Wine & Spirits Exhibition which takes place in Verona every year. This event attracts guests and tourists from all over the world who are enchanted by the vineyards—and by the experience of the legendary Italian country life as well.
There are also special itineraries that take foreigners through Italy’s most popular and picturesque wine regions. “Strada del Vino del Collio” in Emilia Romagna is one of the best examples of the so called “wine roads,” operationally similar to Scotland’s “whiskey trail”. In Italy, there are currently 140 different routes, which help to highlight Italian wines and, to some extent, the country’s flourishing regions.
Italian Wine is clearly growing in popularity; it represents a huge source of income for the country’s economy. However, it also has to deal with foreign competitors, like Chinese or Indian producers who have been selling wine at lower costs. But the strength of these other producers is also their weakness—in fact, they are not able to provide consumers a top class product, as Italy has been able to thanks to its flourishing countryside, Mediterranean climate and its love for its lands. “Our Wine is like the Ferrari,” says the deputy Giorgio Galvagno. “It is an Italian symbol, able to win against competitors and to give consumers emotions”. Galvagno’s words seem to represent the Italian popular perception, showing how it would be necessary to invest on wine production, as it is a core sector in the Italian economy.
Promoting Wine culture is one of the best ways to defend our culture, traditions and to preserve the ancient image of Italy that foreigners have in their mind, hidden by a more superficial one. In addition,Wine production is the pillar of our history, culture, economy and our national identity. It represents a desire to promote a more real image of Italy, free from the Berlusconi lifestyle stereotype.
Ci tenevo a riproporre il mio primo articolo, un post pubblicato per il blog di un’organizzazione no profit con sede a Berlino, ma che mi ha regalato diverse soddisfazioni e mi ha fatto scoprire l’amore per la mia terra e per la scrittura.