The Made in Italy website was launched this week by Google, in collaboration with Unioncamere, the authority that represents Italy’s chambers of commerce, and the Ca Foscari University of Venice.
The interactive website allows users to discover Italian products by searching a map of the country, or trace centuries of food production and craftsmanship by date.
Featured foods range from hazelnuts grown since the 1960s in the Piedmont region – the home of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher chocolates – to grain harvested in north-west Tuscany for the past 4,000 years.
Crafts which carry the Made in Italy mark include the famous shoe and textiles industry, in addition to less well-known creations such as bread stamps first made by shepherds a hundred years ago.
While Italy has long been celebrated for its craftsmanship and agricultural heritage, the country has been slow to showcase such assets online.
“It’s time for that to change,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google. Announcing the initiative, he said the aim was to “get people to understand that Made in Italy is great value”.
Fabio Vaccarono, the manager of Google in Italy, said the internet should be used as a tool to bring more than four million Italian businesses to the global market.
“Italian excellence is barely represented on the internet…today, the priority for Italy is to enter the digital economy,” he said.
Over the past three years turnover of Italian businesses which are active online has grown by 1.2 percent, while those without an online presence have seen a fall of 4.5 percent.
In addition to promoting the variety of Made in Italy products, the project also offers guidance to Italian business owners on how to get online. Those keen to get involved can register online and read case studies of people who have already benefitted from the support.
Watch a video about the project (in Italian and English):