Q: Tuscany is well known but its international image is mainly romantic and historical. How do you translate that into a more modern image for business and the attraction of investment?

A: First of all, we’ve got to provide the right answers in the right timeframe for those who wish to invest, and then gradually, the image itself will change. You’ve got to have a good product, and then, of course, you have got to convey the image of that product, but you really have got to have a good product to start with.


Q: Tell us about that product: what do you feel Tuscany offers as tangible value for business?

A: Tuscany has a good history, in both the manufacturing sector and the industrial sector. All of this is linked to the presence of an extraordinary array of human resources with great skills. So the first point is the universities and the training centres – the training opportunities. Not just training human resources, but also the ability to develop research centres within our universities. And I would add to this a good balance in society, a good social cohesion which allows us to resolve any conflicts in the industrial sector and in our factories. 

But one thing that we have got to improve on, and we are working on this, is the timing with which permits and authorisations are granted... What this requires is somehow to streamline the bureaucratic processes, to avoid fragmentation into lots of different sectors that any kind of bureaucratic certification has to go through. A foreign investor can get completely lost when he is faced with 20 different public bodies that have to grant an authorisation. That’s why we have established an office to attract investors, and this means that an investor, a foreign one or one that is already present in the region, can just go to this central office and the office will put round the same table representatives of all the different bodies that are required to grant an authorisation. This cuts the time [in which an authorisation can be processed].

Q: In the past, foreign investment was not really sought out in Tuscany or even welcomed, but you seem to have made it a priority. Why is that?

A: Because I think that if we are to maintain a balance between Tuscany's gorgeous landscape, its cities of art, its beauties, that which makes Tuscany ‘Tuscany’ and well known throughout the world, [these things] can be kept only if we also foster the development of Tuscan industries, of research, of innovation, because the wealth of the second Tuscany will be necessary to redress the balance to help the first Tuscany, the Tuscany of beauties, to survive.

If we put all the onus of the responsibility to produce wealth only on the Tuscany of natural beauties, this load will become unbearable and in the end perhaps destructive. Tuscany cannot become simply a region for mass tourism or holiday homes. 

Q: Do you feel that Tuscany’s position as a tourist destination can help support FDI promotion? 

A: If you come here on holiday, you’re relaxed, whereas if you come here on business, you’re in a different frame of mind, but it could be interesting to explore this kind of mix. In Tuscany we have a district where there is a cluster for boat building and yacht building, and it is [globally recognised as an area] of excellence in its field. It attracts science, technology and research but it also attracts tourism. The landscape in Tuscany, to take another example, is what is characteristic of the region for tourists, but it is also about labour and jobs as well as agricultural production.