The “Made in Italy” label is widely viewed as shorthand for high craftsmanship, traditions of excellence, and a sense of beauty. Be it reality or myth, this idea has a long history, which is the focus of this book. The story begins with Italy’s extraordinary artistic flowering during the 13th and 14th centuries. During the 15th and 16th centuries, visitors from abroad recognized Italy as the homeland of art. In the 19th century historians shaped a notion of the Renaissance that became especially widespread in America and sparked the collecting of Italian art objects and works. After World War II, the emerging Italian fashion industry, in search of a place of its own in a market dominated by French haute couture, successfully evoked the myth of Renaissance excellence – a symbol of prestige, artistic talent, and craft expertise.
Carlo Marco Belfanti teaches Economic History at the University of Brescia.