The Fondazione Symbola, which promotes Italian quality, is trying to encourage the development and production of high-quality inimitable Italian goods and services, and the movement appears to be gaining support.

The foundation is made up of politicians, bankers, industrialists and journalists. Its adherents include 44 towns well known for chestnuts, 22 towns specialising in honey, 249 villages famous for their olive oil and 548 areas producing prized, natural wines.

As well as consumer goods the foundation also concerns itself with places of artistic interest, including 40 places that make up part of the Unesco patrimony, 110 towns with frescoes and a network of regional and national parks that attract 118 million visitors a year and offer employment to more than 100,000 people.

The way forward for Italy, according to the foundation, is to concentrate on high-quality traditional Italian products without lowering ecological standards. Italy is a very saleable product but it must be protected.