The Conca Ternana area
From an industrialisation perspective the Conca Ternana is one of a kind in Italy and, in many ways, in Europe. The area’s industrial framework dates to the 19th century when Terni became one of Italy’s foremost industrial cities, earning it the name ‘steel city’ and the ‘Italian Manchester’.
Terni was the fourth city in Italy to get public lighting and electricity and the steel works was, over the years, flanked by hydroelectric plants and factories specialising in the textile and chemical sectors, making it a strategic centre of international importance.
In the first decades of the 20th century, this dynamic city prepared to take control of a large scale hydroelectric production system within the framework of the national economy and it was precisely in this period that the Conca Ternana became an industrial centre of national and European importance.
To increase this economic development investments were made in specialist workforce training and, in general, the Terni province professional school institutions which focused on foundry and chemical workers and carpenters.
A new aqueduct was built, the whole area’s roads modernised and a sewage network built. Industrial transformation and the overcrowding that came with it soon accentuated the disparity between the Conca Ternana and the rest of the provincial and regional area.
At Narni Scalo electrodes for electrical furnaces were being produced as early as 1900 and in 1954 the first electrode graphitization plant was set in motion.
The Terni chemical hub began to take shape in 1939 with the production of butadiene for the synthetic rubber sector. This took highly dynamic form right away with top class products and production chain differentiation encompassing: alcantara, polypropylene thread, film and flakes and biodegradable plastic material.
The economic and financial crises of recent decades notwithstanding, the chemical hub has retained its international level status in the field of olefine polymerisation and in polypropylene downstream.
The Conca Ternana area is thus powerfully marked by industrial development. For this reason, despite the progressive downsizing of the industry from the 1970s onwards, the district has successfully invested in manufacturing specialisation and production verticalisation for industrial reconversion.
From the starting point of market globalisation, in this specific industrial history framework, the great multinational groups came to the fore, launching in-depth manufacturing and industrial system restructuring based also on the capacity to innovate and invest in research and development as well as process modernisation, in accordance with the dictates of the green economy. Of the over 30 multinational firms working in Umbria, a grand total of 19 work in the Terni-Narni area and come from all over the world (such as Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Norway, Israel, Britain and the USA).
These have invested in the Conca Ternana area because of its strong industrial vocation and work culture but also for its significant business-skill–quality-living standard integration.