How Italy exports culture

An interactive map to show how cultural products can be traded

01-12-201706:05by
'An Allegory', a painting believed to have been created by Italian artist Sandro Botticelli
'An Allegory', a painting believed to have been created by Italian artist Sandro Botticelli (Credits: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

How active is Italy in importing and exporting culture? To answer this question ShopAlike has created an interactive map which is able to illustrate, in a dynamic and effective way, the import/export flow of cultural products in European countries. ShopAlike bases its map on the recent reports of Eurostat, the statistic institute of the European Union (EU).

Shopalike’s map is very innovative because it allows a precise monitoring of the “cultural impact” of a country. The products taken into consideration for the map are all those items that can be defined as “derivates of artistic creativity”. Within this umbrella definition we find works of art, textile products, antiques, books, audio-visual products, music instruments, maps, games and photographies.

Based on ShopAlike’s map, within the EU Italy is ranked 7th as an exporter of cultural goods and 6th as an importer. Taking into consideration the total turnover of  EU importers and exporters, Italy is at number 4 after the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland. Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) have performed really well over the last few years, exporting much more than what they import. In particular, the UK exported cultural goods for a total amount of 4290 billion Euros while Germany 903 million Euros. The most exported goods from the UK are the works of art, representing 50% of the total trade flow.

Besides the UK and Germany, Italy exports cultural goods for a total amount of 1 billion 773 million euros. Textile products (such as precious carpets) represent 24.9% of the business, followed by 23.5% of works of art, and books (21.9). Press and audiovisual products, together with musical instruments are doing quite well as well. With regard imports, the most required cultural products in Italy are the textile ones (25%), films and games (20%), together with books, musical istruments and works of art.

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