The Sicilian goldsmith industry asks the Region for greater protection

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There are around sixty distributed throughout the regional territory. They are still called workshops but they are now laboratories that bet on innovation, design, advanced marketing and increasingly aim to conquer new markets. They are the Sicilian goldsmith artisans, heirs of a great tradition and today committed to building alliances with the aim of enhancing and growing a sector that has very specific identity and historical roots: the Maestranza degli Goldsmiths and Silversmiths of Palermo was established in 1447 and he remained alive until 1822.

It is from these assumptions that, with the support of Cna Sicilia, the Sicilian goldsmiths and silversmiths district was born, which was recognized by the regional department for Productive Activities. «Exactly 200 years have passed and today, once again, Sicily artistically shows itself to be the beating heart of the Mediterranean in which creativity and originality of different backgrounds and suggestions converge and are reworked, with influences from different latitudes – explains Giuliana Di Franco, president of the district and president of the goldsmith sector of the Sicilian Cna – . Companies and authors in the gold and silver sector are able to produce works locally with their own characteristics, in which the sunny polychromy of the land of Sicily and the genius of its people are identified.” But the recognition of the district is only a first step in this valorization process started by the artisans themselves: the sixty companies that have joined the district have a turnover (according to estimates) of just over 345 million but the sector in Sicily, again according to estimates that go beyond the perimeter of the district, it employs around 500 people. Little, if we want, but certainly not residual nor marginal given the historical, artistic and identity importance that this sector has for Sicily. A structural fragility which, however, does not allow these companies, often small or even micro, to undertake significant investments. Giuliana Di Franco explains it again: «It is complicated, very complicated for small companies like ours to cope with co-financing for projects that do not concern the individual company but business networks or consortia» she says. Those measures, you seem to understand, are indicated in a situation that is structurally solid and underway. But this case appears different: «We – says Giuliana Di Franco who, after studying outside Sicily, chose to return and created her laboratory in Leonforte in the province of Enna – ask the institutions to initiate overall promotion policies on the model of what has been done for the agri-food sector. Ours is a sector that has great identity and tourism value and above all deserves a promotion and protection strategy. Made in Sicily has an enormous market value but the market, even our regional market, is invaded by goldsmith products that present themselves as Sicilian but are not Sicilian at all. We need, if we want, a specific rule for our sector and for the ceramics sector: they are the only truly Sicilian manufacturing sectors.”

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