‘No Character in a Movie Has Ever Welled Up and Sighed, ‘We’ll Always Have Stuttgart’’

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  08.04.10 | 11:42 AM ET

That line comes from a great story by David Segal that explores the pluses and minuses for Italy as it maintains tradition amid the rush of progress and globalization.

In the eternal contest between the meticulously honed and the nationally franchised, Italy knows where it stands. As a matter of profit and loss, it doesn’t make sense to store wool in a spa and let it convalesce for six months, but the methods of Luciano Barbera were never destined for a get-rich-quick guide to manufacturing. His business will make sense only to customers, and for them, quality has a logic of its own.

And of course, the worship of growth has its limitations. The American economy is vastly more robust, but instead of family-owned bakeries, which seem to dot every hectare of Italy, we’ve got Quiznos. And for all the efficiency and horsepower in Germany, no character in a movie has ever welled up and sighed, “We’ll always have Stuttgart.”



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