The Italian creative scene offers a peerless combination of quality, craft and creativity. Iconic is a word that’s much overused, but there’s nothing else to describe the unmistakable lines of an Olivetti typewriter or Gaggia coffee machine, or the timeless cool of the Vespa scooter or Ferrari Spyder. It was an Italian graphic designer who created the world famous Woolmark symbol. Films like 81/2 and La Dolce Vita and Bicycle Theives showed Italian creativity in widescreen, and as Hollywood (and European) royalty adopted Rome as their playground, there was a time in the 1960s where Rome was the beating heart of fashionable popular culture, setting trends and fashions that echoed around the world.

For much of the 20th century, visual language spoke with an Italian accent. But this international recognition has come at a price. Outside of a few key sectors, namely fashion and automotive, the ‘Made in Italy’ label has a strong element of retro attached to it. And this is a problem.

Italian craftsmanship continues to forge new paths of innovation in fashion, automotive technology and even space travel. It was Italian ingenuity built the Colombus laboratory on the International Space Station. But this drive and energy hasn’t translated as well to the creative communications sector.

It’s a situation that borders on the bizarre. For the enquiring mind, the influences of Italian creativity reach far and wide. On one hand, Italy is the European birthplace of modern thought and creativity, but it is also one of the youngest European countries — the modern unified Italy is barely more than 150 years old. At its heart, the capital city of Rome seems familiar even to those who have never been, and has inspired great works of art, cinema, film, design, fashion, literature and music.

Italy has even had its fair share of iconic advertising. It was the Italian studio Ferry Mayer that took home the first ever Grand Prix in 1954 for Chlorodont toothpaste. This feat would be repeated nearly 40 years later when McCann-Erickson Milan claimed the first ever Press and Poster category for its work with Levi.

[credit: Creative Director: Milka Pogliani; Copywriter: Alessandro Canale; Art Director: Stefano Colombo; Photographer: Graham Ford]

But in recent years Italy has struggled to match this success. But there’s more to life than awards. Italian creativity continues to inspire the world — even if it means the trophies go home with someone else.

This year’s eurobest will set out to explore elements of Italian creativity, from fashion to film and beyond. And as one of the spiritual homes of creativity, Rome is the perfect location to examine the issues and individuals that are shaping the modern creative landscape.

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