For the final full day in Verona, we visited a consortium. Verona Consortium is made up of 48 companies that specialize in a fashion-related business in the Veneto region. It was founded in 2000 as a guild to help smaller businesses compete on an international scale and have access to fashion experts and consultants. The consortium prides itself in the idea of “made in Italy.” One of the problems with the consortium is unclear leadership structures within individual companies because many are family businesses that began shortly after WWII. The consortium can help organize these struggling companies. Another problem is internal competition within the consortium. This means that competing companies may not be as likely to honor the consortium’s requests to help another company financially. Many of these companies are relatively small. In fact, 65% have between six and 50 employees. These companies would not be able to compete internationally with larger companies and brands. With a membership fee, the companies have access to training and projects. Additionally, they can take on larger contracts because other companies within the consortium can help expedite the production process by having what is essentially vertical integration in the supply chain.
After visiting the consortium, it was lunch time. Because many of us were sick of pasta and pizza, we decided to find some Asian food. After quite a bit of exploring, we settled on a nearby all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. I don’t even know what I ate, but it was definitely good. Learning how to use chopsticks was also not something I expected to do in Italy. After lunch, we headed out to do some shopping in Verona. One thing we noticed is that many collared shirts have the shape of a collar but do not fold down. The European style collars made many of the shirts look awkward to us. After shopping, we headed out to walk around Verona. There is a high point in the town somewhere that gives an amazing view of the entire town, but we were not able to find it. Instead, we found a beautiful bridge that looked over the tourist side of Verona’s center, the residential side, and rolling hills with immense houses. For anyone visiting Italy, Verona should definitely be on the itinerary. It is beautiful and not nearly as tourist-heavy as larger cities. Life is a lot slower in Verona than Milan. We were able to talk to shop owners and compare their views of Italy to our own. The manager at Michael Kors was able to tell us about less tourist-heavy parts of town. Apparently, water is not always super expensive for meals. Another worker instantly recognized Pittsburgh and said that he listened to Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller music. It was neat to have conversations like this because these connections are what truly broadens your horizons.