Abstract: Regions, Nations, Globalization: A Case Study of the Marches Region

Patrizia Sabbatucci Severini


After the Second World War, the economic development of the Marches, in central Italy, was due above all to strong growth in small and medium-sized businesses involved in the export of "made in Italy" light goods such as shoes and leather. Until 1950, some 60 percent of the population of working age was involved in farming, and over 70 percent of agricultural land was worked on a sharecropping mezzadria basis—a type of contract widely held to have been an obstacle to capitalist development. The present work will examine, first, economic development between the mid-eighteen hundreds and 1950, when gradual changes, brought about partly by the integration of the local into the national economy and partly by emigration abroad, transformed both primary and secondary economic sectors: the factories opened by capitalists from northern Italy, workshops producing goods for the local market, and a few specialized producers of hand-made products for the wider Italian (and more rarely foreign) market. The character of postwar development will be analyzed, with special attention being paid to the role played by agriculture, to the growth and organisation of certain "driving" industries (such as furniture-making, shoe-making, and the production of agricultural and other machinery), to the decline of others (such as hat-making, and the manufacture of musical instruments), and finally, through an examination of particular cases, to the process of internationalization of certain businesses.