Chances Not to be Missed

Written by  Franco Cangini
The right conditions for the long awaited economic development of Ferrara have been created.

Good plans do not always produce good results. One typical case of this is represented by the reclamation schemes that doubled the area of the province of Ferrara thanks to the land wrested from the Po delta: a job well done insofar as it won new land for agriculture, and ensured work and a living for a growing population.
But the other side of the coin became noticeable only after a certain time had passed. The reclaimed land did not come up to expectations, acted as a brake on industrialization and hindered the spread of the entrepreneurial spirit.

But while good may sometimes lead to ill, the opposite is also possible. In the province of Ferrara today all the conditions for a new metamorphosis have come together with the result that long standing problems have been transformed into development opportunities.
Take unemployment for example. This old curse of the Ferrara region, which returned to 13% as a consequence of the recession of 1993, is beginning to become its opposite as it has created a reservoir of labour open to exploitation.

Obviously unemployment could not be interpreted in terms of economic development if Ferrara were still the Sleeping Beauty it undeniably was for such a long time. It used to be a Renaissance enclave, with a wealth of charm and a paucity of prospects, wedged between the rapidly developing areas of the North-East and the Emilian way. An isolated position that has become a strategic one, since this province now has everything necessary to attract the kind of new business ventures that will allow it to compete vigorously.
The economic structure has weak elements that may be transformed into strong points by those who are able to profit from them. Currently, the food production sector is languishing, the development of tourism exceeds the area's capacity to meet demand, and the chance of profitable spin-off deriving from the important petrochemical and mechanical sectors has by no means been missed.

But Ferrara's strongest card is Ferrara itself. It's a city where the tenor of life is high. A city with a very low crime rate whose plethora of sophisticated cultural events make it a European capital of art and music. A city where local bodies and trades unions have the good sense to work together to lay the ground for new business.

The Este Dukes made it a point of honour to pay their soldiery and their university professors regularly. Duke Alfonso I, an indefatigable manufacturer of cannons, called in master craftsmen from all over Europe in the days when Ferrara was already one of the most significant centres of the European Renaissance. This good government, as long as it lasted, ensured that the Este family were deemed worthy of the power they wielded. Some of the spirit of that tradition of civil virtues and willingness to accept progress has crossed the centuries intact.
A great past always bears within itself a promise for the future. In Ferrara this has never been so close to coming true.