- A long history of innovation -

Province of Varese

arese, which lies to the north-west of Milan, is one of Italy’s most prominent industrial and service-oriented provinces. The local economy has flourished, in part, because of the proximity of Malpensa International Airport, Lombardy’s main air hub and one of Varese’s premier facilities. There is a diverse spread of industry ranging from textiles and electro-mechanical equipment to plastics and aeronautical services. It is pioneering in areas such as high technology, moving from industrial enterprise towards services. The province has a strong trading record with the UK and the rest of the EU.

Varese’s President, Marco Reguzzoni, says there is a joint campaign with the local Chamber of Commerce to promote the image of the province further across Europe. “We want to promote our territory because we believe not enough is known about it,” he says.

Tourism is another important draw. Lakes, including Lake Maggiore, mountains and other attractions, make Varese an ideal vacation spot for international tourists. The Malpensa Fiere congress centre highlights a growing trend towards business tourism and services.
Mr Reguzzoni stresses the credentials of the local workforce and a long history of innovation – this is where the aeronautical industry was born in Italy a century ago. There is a solid educational system underpinned by two prestigious universities – the University of Insubria and LIUC (Libera Università Carlo Cattaneo). There is another important research centre, the Joint Research Centre of the European Union, located in Ispra.

As well as investment in education, Mr Reguzzoni says Varese has faced the challenges of globalisation on a number of other fronts. He says Varese is committed “to innovation, with research centres, with the creation of two university poles during the last 10 years, and a modernisation process in production and management.”

Renzo Dionigi, Rector of the University of Insubria, says Varese offers a unique slant in the Lombardy higher education system, providing specialist courses covering areas such as environmental science and protection, cultural heritage and tourism science. The university, which is twinned with the University of Leicester, has an international research department for local history and a medical centre of excellence, respected at a national and international level. “Italian universities meet the same standards as most other European countries,” he says.

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