Mrs Pina, you represented Amarelli and Calabria at the Expo in Milan. It means you represented good Calabrian business. How was it like?
This Expo’s aim was to represent Italy’s ability to reach and offer excellence, it wasn’t about business per se. Protect the Made in Italy and Italian creativity. The Italian genius. Think about us, for example: our product is 100% Calabrian and it’s the best on a worldwide level. We’re trying to uphold the idea of the Italian genius, the Italian art of living which is a high quality kind of life. This was Expo’s purpose and I felt it greatly, representing our culture.
Did Amarelli underwent any change through time?
It certainly did. One has to know their origins and evaluate who or what one is. Amarelli went through different phases, just like the region it is in, our land’s history and our company’s are intertwined and we try to communicate this. After WWII the entire country had to be rebuilt, people would try to save on everything, food and clothes, but it is in this historical moment that the Italian genius emerged: in the 60’s they understood that reforming the agricultural system and investing in the industry, we could become appliances and machinery leaders, sustainable mechanical engineering. Our company basically had never been altered ever since its foundation in the XVIII century, the change began in 1940. It would follow the market instead of leading it. In 1960 we faced a hard choice: either ending it – just like others did- or opening up to technology. Hence the Sixties were all about investing in machinery, we bought the first Olivetti computers! Thirty years prior to this, my father in law’s father died and left the agricultural business – the main one – to an unmarried sister. When she died, she didn’t leave everything to her nephews: my father in law and his brothers, instead she left it all to their future boys who weren’t even born yet. It wasn’t a wise move. When my father in law died, this kind of inheritance “without” heirs brought us to argue with the Ministry of Finances, you can imagine seventy years without passing the inheritance from one generation to the next can be a curious occurrence. But there actually were heirs, my husband and Fortunato’s father, so we started thinking about how to run the company. Back then, I was in Naples working as a lawyer and lecturer at the University, my occupation couldn’t be more different from the actual one. Once the restoration of the company was completed, new doors were opening for me as a publicist and I immediately understood that we needed to invest in production, marketing and communication. We brought back the tin cans designs the company used at the beginning of the XIX century. I started taking pictures of the old labels kept in the archives. They are the emblem of our success, we sell millions of cans every year.
What does Calabria represent for you?
I’d say it intrigues me. When I came here for the first time in 1969 I thought I’ve come to a very backwards land, I was accustomed to Naples, Florence, Rome, Monopoli and Bari… those cities were different and their approach toward working women was different. Here women would leave their homes to go calling on a friend or attending Mass. Calabria has changed a lot in 50 years. I approached this reality intrigued by it, especially since it was part of my family’s history. I made some researches and today they are nationally and historically important. It was worth it. Here if you’re the first to arrive, you’ll get the best in everything. This is were one can find truly strong roots, literally and metaphorically.
“In our little boxes that travel around the world there is imprinted the name Rossano – Calabria; in our opinion this is the most beautiful form of tourism promotion that we can can offer to our wonderful region” Fortunato Amarelli
Thanks Fortunato, thanks Margherita, Thanks Mrs Pina.
Discover also the interview with Filippo Callipo, the king of tuna in Calabria clicking here
Photos: Lucia Franco
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