Italy’s historic marble industry being pushed to limit by coronavirus pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic reshapes Italy’s economy, operators from many niche businesses, which have histories that date back centuries such as storied marble producers, say they are struggling to survive.

“It seems counter-intuitive to think that professions that survived world wars, depressions, natural disasters, and even other pandemics could be undone by the coronavirus,” Marco Antonio Serin, London-based labor consultant and analyst who lived in Italy for more than a decade. “But this pandemic is happening in a hyper-competitive global economy, where the margin for error is tiny. The economic impacts of any problem are magnified many times.”

Erich Lucchetti, president of Confindustria Massa Carrara, an association of marble producers in Tuscany, wrote an open letter to Tuscany Governor Enrico Rossi, calling for help. Lucchetti argued that the age-old industry that produced the raw materials for many of the world’s most famous historical buildings and statues could be facing its demise in the face of lower domestic demand and a big falloff in exports.

“An industry that is part of the area’s economic fabric is running a serious risk of being decimated,” Lucchetti said.