Artisan travel in Italy

Crafts, Handlooms, Art, Craftspersons/ Artisanal, Editorial, Travelogue

Artisan travel in Italy: July 2007


Visiting Northern Italy gave me a chance to get a feel of a countryside that has gone through cycles of industrial change since at least the 1600s. The Eastern part, particularly the Marche region is a perfect example of sociologist Charles Tilly's observation that industrialization is not a linear process "â€Ĥa straight-line model of industrialization is not merely inaccurate in itself; it leads to faulty, costly deductions" he says. It is wrong to assume that "industrialization follows a straight line from agriculture to handicraft to full-scale industry, with handicraft a weak anticipation of full-scale industry". In this region both craft and mass-production seem to have had their glory days and their bleak stretches, with craft production of leather goods and textiles bringing some prosperity after a period of industrial decline in the early 20th century.

I was in Pavia to lecture students of a course on Co-operation and Development at the University of Pavia. Pavia itself, an example of the way in which in Italy the past is part of the present through its lovingly preserved architecture and spaces, is a delight. Pavia is part of the province of Lombardy near the great industrial capital of Milan. Italy had seen the rise and fall of the woollen industry during the seventeenth century. At the beginning of that century, according to Carlo M Cipollo, this region was one of the most industrially advanced in Western Europe, but by its end, Italy had become an 'economically depressed and ba...
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