Made in Italy is Everywhere in Italy

Fashion, Fashion, Fashion it’s everywhere, especially in Italy. During my study abroad I had to see what the fashion and shopping was like for some Made in Italy products! I had expected all the cities to have similar shopping experiences, but was surprised to find out this wasn’t the case. I did find one similarity and that was the little tag on everything that said Made In Italy. I wondered why this was the case. So here is a dive into Made in Italy:

BOLOGNA– Was home for 2 of my 4 weeks abroad. I stayed in a hotel that was just a minute from a shopping strip. There were many shops, commercial and luxury. Even though there were bigger brands, Made in Italy was still tacked onto most products.bologna.png

MILAN– How could you not shop in Milan? There are stores everywhere! Luxury brands flooded the streets, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci… etc. These are some of Italy’s most sought-after brands and they go all out in their Milan stores. If you walk in one of these stores it will fully immerse you into the brand. While there, a personal shopper helps you to pick out all the Made in Italy necessities.bologna

COMO– had a Christmas market that was unlike one I had seen before. They had many made in Italy products and all of the people were very extra friendly. The market extended down most of the main street.
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VERONA– was a city I did not know much about. It turns out that Verona is a pretty big fashion hub. Verona, like Milan had many luxury shops. While in Verona I went to Furla and learned the company was very sustainable, which is something that is important to a lot of Italians.

VENICE– Was much calmer than the other cities we visited. Wandering the streets and going into random shops was my favorite part of the city. I saw many leather purse shops that had made in Italy written inside of the tag.

URBINO– Was home for the second 2 weeks of my time in Italy. This town is a lot smaller than Bologna and does not have a large shopping strip. It is comparable to Oxford in that it has a college and only a few shops. The town did have a leather shop that had handmade, Made in Italy products.

 

FLORENCE– Is a city built for shopping. There are shops lining every street and where there aren’t shops there are little huts that sell products. If you are going to Italy with no intention to shop, then I wouldn’t go to Florence. If you do want a Made in Italy product though, Florence has tons of choices.

 

CINQUE TERRE– Is a Summer tourist destination. Because of this many of the shops shut down for the winter. This turned out to be a blessing because I only had one day in Cinque Terre and wanted to do everything! Only a couple of shops being open was the perfect. However, I did scope out some Made in Italy shops…. so I guess I’ll have to come back in the Summer.

PESARO– We went to Pesaro on a Monday, so many shops were closed. In case you didn’t know, a lot of Italian stores are closed on Monday. Even though shops were closed I still saw made in Italy in the windows and got the opportunity to make my own belt.pesaro

So …. what is Made in Italy and why is it the one consistency in all Italian cities?Made in Italy is a, “logo to defend the country’s finest food exports from an army of foreign impersonators.” (Landlini) This logo is not as straight forward as it seems and has created issues on what is considered made in Italy. Something I learned in class was that the Made in Italy logo is very desired and “there is a strong level of consumer rationality towards the purchase of “Made in Italy.”” (Cappelli) This helps to understand why companies are so careful to make sure their products have this logo. A study we did also talks about Made in Italy and how, “there is a significant and important “premium price” recognized by consumers.” (Cappelli)

As you travel through Italy, I would keep an eye out for this logo. You may be paying a slight premium for the Made in Italy logo, but hey it may be worth it!
Citations:
“Capelli”, Are Consumers Willing to Pay More for a “Made in” Product?

“Landini”, What’s truly Italian? Food fight foils ‘Made in Italy’ plan

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Is food more than the ingredients?

For our 6th challenge we were tasked with making a video about Italian cuisine. We decided to discuss slow food and how it unites people. One of the most exciting parts of the assignment was interviewing one of our waiters. This gave us an inside look at an Italians point of view of slow food. Overall the assignment helped me to understand that Italian food is more than just the taste. Watch our video to experience more!

Urban Urbino

Our 5th challenge was given to us when we arrived in Urbino. For this challenge we were given a scavenger hunt to learn about the history and culture in Urbino. Sarah, Lia, Ellie and I set out to find some of the sights. Here is what we found:

The Best View of the Ducal Palace: While the Ducal Palace is beautiful from almost every angle we found out that the best view could be seen from Via Barocci. When standing on the street you can look between buildings to see the palace. Take a peek:

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La casa di Rafaello: As we wandered Urbino we knew we were close to Raffaello’s house because there were several shops, and even a street, named after him nearby. We initially took pictures of the wrong house because we were unsure where it was. It didn’t take us long to realize that Rafaello’s house had a sign outside of it. We later visited the house again with our tour guide when she explained that the house was where the artist Rafaello was born. From a very young age Rafaello was very talented. Our tour guide pointed out a piece of art he had done when he was 9 which was amazing to see how talented he was at such a young age.

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Popular Brands in Urbino: After roaming around Urbino for a couple of days I noticed that the brands being worn were pretty consistent with brands being worn in Other parts of Italy. The brand I have noticed the most is the Napapijri brand. This is the brand that has the Norwegian flag on it.  I have seen these windbreaker jackets everywhere we go, especially on college aged guys.4444

American Stereotypes: During our first couple of days in Urbino we got the opportunity to meet some students from Urbino. The students were very nice and pretty interested in learning about what America was like. We asked them what stereo types they had heard about American’s and they said they heard we are all cheerleaders and football players, like you see in the movies. They also said we like potatoes and chips, which we thought was pretty accurate since we’ve gotten fries 3 times from Chick N Fries in 3 days. The last thing they said was American’s were unaware of what is going on outside the US. I found this one to be pretty accurate because it seems like most American’s focus on what is going on nationally and less of what is going on internationally. Overall the stereotypes did not surprise me, but they were very interesting to hear about.

Most Popular place to go in Urbino on a Thursday night: This is another question we asked the students from Urbino. They said that on Thursday’s they would start by pregaming at their house and then go bar hopping after. We asked what one of their favorites was and they said The Underground Pub. Since the recommendation was so strong we figured we had to go see it for ourselves. Pictured below: Lia in The Underground Pub
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Hand made leather purses: The last location we found was one we found on the way home from class. The store was called Piero Guidi and had many choices of leather bags that were handbound. Unfortunately, the store was closed so we were unable to go in.

 

Reflection: In the end we found 6 of the 10 items on our scavenger hunt list. Everything we found helped me to better understand Urbino’s history and culture. It was interesting to compare what we found in Urbino to our experiences in the United States. Since, Urbino is such a small town with a college we were able to find many commonalities with the students we spoke to about Urbino. It was also interesting to see the Ducal Palace and Raffaelo’s house as these 2 places are very representative of Urbino’s history. While all of these were exciting to find we hope to be able to find the 4 other locations in our remaining week in Urbino. One that was especially hard for us to find was the leather books that were hand bound. We tried to ask in a book store, but the owner did not speak much English, which is something we have noticed in Urbino. I plan on doing some more research on the book store in order to try to find it. I’ll update you on what I find!

Ciao!

Sustainable Shopping

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For challenge number 4 we were tasked with finding a sustainable brand. I immediately knew that this meant the company would most likely be a slow fashion company, as these usually have more sustainable models than fast fashion companies. I was shopping around in Verona when I saw Furla, which was a company I had purchased a purse from during my prior trip to Italy. When we went in I saw they had flaps for the front of purses and when I asked the sales associate, she said it was so you could mix up your bag without having to buy a whole new one. She then explained that this helps the environment because it decreases the number of brand new purses people are buying. This is just one of Furla’s many sustainable practices, which I learned from further research into the company and from asking another sales associate in the Venice Furla.

Some facts I learned were:

Furla uses eco-friendly materials in some of its products. Examples of these materials include PVC and Coated Canvas.

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Furla does not always use new leather. They make an effort to bond together old leather to help decrease waist.

Furla has plans to start a new sub-brand that will be based on using eco-friendly materials. They think this new sub-brand will not deter customers, but rather increase revenues because there is an increased concern for the environment.

Their new Milan Office has a Green Building Leed Gold Certification. This building has low environmental impact, 35% eco and hydro-saving, and 40% air pollution decrease.
They plan to make their supply chain more eco-friendly as technology is developed. They addressed this on their website and said that it was one of their highest areas of risk. For this reason, Furla said they will focus more efforts on it.aaaaaa.jpeg

It was interesting to learn about Furla and how the company is trying to be sustainable. The challenge helped me to understand why it is so important for companies to be sustainable especially with the increased concern for the environment. In the future I’d like to compare Furla to other brands in order to see how they are doing in comparison to the industry.

Until next time, Ciao!

 

Gucci or Guccy?

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Since arriving in Italy Gucci is a brand that I have seen everywhere. It has been in the airport, every major city, and there is even a museum in Florence called the Gucci Garden. I have gone into many of the stores and have found that each one is unique. They all have different displays; however they manage to maintain a design that represents the brand. The store is more of an experience than anything. The abundance of Gucci in Italy and the design that goes into it makes it apparent that Gucci is a well-developed and highly sought-after brand.

History

Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in 1921. It was founded in Florence, where the Gucci Garden is located. The brand significantly grew after the second world war. Stores were opened throughout Europe and in 1954 Gucci opened it’s first US store. Today the brand is known as a luxury brand worldwide and has hired some of the world’s most renowned designers. Tom Ford was one of the most famous designers and designed from 1994 until 2004. Since then Gucci has hired several designers who have kept up Gucci’s image.

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US Perception

Like Italy, the US perceives Gucci as a luxury brand. Gucci has a very high brand recognition and is worn by many of the countries most famous celebrities. One major difference between the US and Italy is that there are fewer stores in the US. However, Gucci has managed to increase their presence in the US with their Gucci belts. This has helped the brand to get customers into US stores. Although I have not been in any US stores I could tell through research that they also use a unique and powerful design that is consistent with the rest of the brand.

Observations

As we toured Gucci Garden the tour guide showed us a recent dress that said Guccy on it. I thought this was just a random twist they put on the garment to make it unique. I was surprised when the tour guide informed us that it was intentional. The reason for the difference in spelling was actually because of Americans and how we pronounce things. She said that while ci makes the chee noise in Italian, cy makes the noise in the US.
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Another thing I noticed on the tour was some of the very adventurous trends. Gucci is well known for their out there styles, which helps them to stay relevant. While walking around the store and the museum I found many garments to be unexpected. Some of the most interesting were fur shoes that appeared to be made of hair, a scarf made of two fox bodies, hats that cover your face, and an orange fur jacket with zebras on it. These exhibits made me wonder who exactly wore these products and what occasion would be appropriate to wear them?

 

I look forward to continuing to learn more about Gucci and what makes them so successful as a brand.

Bologna’s Secrets Exposed

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As some of you may know there are 7 secrets of Bologna. While there is plenty you can see by just roaming the city of Bologna, these 7 secrets are fun and exciting sites that take a little (or a lot) more effort to find. Our third day in Italy Sarah, Ellie, Lia, and I set out to find as many as we could. We thought it only fair to share the secrets we found so others can see them too.

L’erezione de Neptuno “Fountain of Neptune” : L’erezione de Neptuno may have been the easiest of Bologna’s secrets to find. Surrounding the statue were a lot of  large groups of tourists and musicians which helped us to find the statue quickly. This statue is known for being symmetrical, “lending itself to being observed from all angles (try it). The four groups of four elements each – dolphins, nereids, coats of arms, and angels – are arranged around the sinuous Neptune, which crowns the monumental structure.” as written about in Bologna Uncovered.

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Il Vaso Rotto in Cima alla Torre Degli Asinelli “The Broken Vase at the Top of Asinelli Tower” : The tower is rumored to have a vase at the top of it. However it is uncertain whether or not the vase has ever been seen. None the less it is interesting to go look at the tower as it is one of the most visited sites in Bologna.

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Gelato Break…. Some of the secrets were harder to find than anticipated so gelato was necessary. There is a great place called Gianni’s right around the area a lot of the secrets happen to be.

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It’s never too cold for gelato!

Canabis Protectio “Cannabis is Protection”: This secret was one that proved to be harder to find. We knew from research we had done that this saying was written on the ceiling of an archway, however even with asking several people it was difficult to locate it. Many people hadn’t even heard of this (thus the secret part.)

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Il Telefono Senza Fili ” The Telephone without wires”: This secret is not a far walk from L’erezione de Neptuno, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for it may be hard to find. The way you know you are at the right place is to have someone stand at the opposite corner of the wall and whisper . If you hear what they said  you know you’ve found the right place.
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Panum Resis “Bread is Resistance” : This secret is one that is hidden at the end of a long walkway on Dell’Indipendenza Street. We found the architecture to be very unique and unlike other archways we have seen.
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Other Secrets and Not So Secrets we found in Bologna

There are many, but a few include: Fist bumping door handles, A restaurant that serves whole fish, and Stone Sofas. Why these aren’t on the list? We aren’t sure, but we’re glad we found them!

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Sources:

The Story Behind Bologna’s Fountain of Neptune

 

 

 

 

Coffee Hour

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The first challenge we had in Italy was to find a coffee shop in 2 hours. As we explored the city we realized there were plenty to choose from. A group of us visited Caffé Borbone while another went to Café Paneburro.

We knew there could be a language barrier due to us not speaking Italian aside from a few phrases. However when we spoke to the barista he was amicable and was happy to let us practice ordering in Italian. After asking what the most popular coffee drink was, we placed an order. It was interesting to learn that there was only one size for each drink.

As we talked to the barista we asked him what his favorite coffee was, “Qual è il tuo café preferito?” He replied espresso.

The group that went to Café Paneburro had a somewhat similar experience. “When we attempted to communicate with the bartender at Cafe Paneburro, a huge language barrier became evident. Though we knew this would happen, we were still laughing at ourselves as we attempted to order our coffees. When first interacting with the bartender, we introduced ourselves and said “sto praticando L’ Italiano” – the bartender laughed at us for mispronouncing words and waited patiently as we looked up Italian in a pocket dictionary. One question we asked was what is the most popular drink – the bartender answered with ‘Expresso Machiatto’ … yum!”

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We really enjoyed the cappuccinos we received at Caffé Borbonne  and we are excited to go back and try other café’s soon! Maybe we’ll try the barista’s favorite, espresso, next time.