VERONA, Italy – Italy’s two big stone events joined forces late last month for domestic and international cooperation – but not without spirited talk in some Italian media.

250 marmo agreeClick photo to enlargeVeronafiere, the producer of Marmomac, and IMM Carrarafiere, the organizer of Marmotec signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Sept. 28 with the aim of developing joint action in Italy and, in particular, on international markets to promote 'Made in Italy' natural stone and processing technology.

Verona-based Marmomac, held annually, and biennial event Marmotec in Carrara are the respective events of Italy's two main natural-stone production districts. Verona and Carrara in 2016 together accounted for more than 60% of total revenues for Italian stone exports – more than €2.9 billion for finished materials, semi-finished products and dedicated machinery.

The agreement addresses possible joint involvement in promotional and commercial initiatives in Italy and abroad, such as trade missions with companies, b2b meetings, workshops and exhibitions. The partnership will not only concern business but also training, professional updates and research: fields where both trade fairs have been active for more than two decades.

“The transformation of Veronafiere into a joint-stock equity company (SpA) means we can operate more promptly on markets as well as to implement strategic partnerships such as this one with IMM Carrarafiere - the first step towards a more detailed collaboration promoting this sector,” said Giovanni Mantovani, Veronafiere CEO/Director General. “We are convinced that working closely together following the guidelines defined up by the (Italian) government in its Special Made in Italy Promotion Plan is the key to the success of our natural-stonesystem."

"Internazionale Marmi e Macchine Carrara is acknowledged world-wide as a specialist centre focusing on the stone industry and a landmark for all operators," said Fabio Figari, IMM president. “This leadership means we are able to respond on a daily basis to requests from all over the world as regards training, market research, trials and laboratory testing.

“I have always been convinced that strength lies in cooperation. The trade fair sector has changed and needs synergies in order to emerge on the global market. That is why we have defined with Veronafiere a shared point of view that has enabled us to implement a new approach that will bring great benefits to the natural stone value chain andour respective production districts."

The agreement drew some grumbling, as articles in the Italian media – in the Carrara region -- cited some unhappiness with the deal, along with claims that the cooperative effort meant the end to Marmotec. The Carrara event is showing fewer attendees during editions in the past decade.

The comments led to IMM issuing a statement on Sept. 30, noting that it “never declared” an end to the Marmotec event with the new agreement. It also noted cooperation with Veronafiere as a positive step, along with its emphasis on technical training with its Stone Lab activity.

As far as Marmotec itself, the IMM noted that “the world is changing and that to be competitive you need to adapt to change.

“For two years, IMM has been working with institutions and entrepreneurs,” the statement continued, “for the identification and construction of a new concept that evolves from the traditional fair in a place of relationships and experiences, influences and technological innovations.”

IMM noted that details of the plan will be announced soon. And, on Marmotec’s webpage, information on next year’s event consists only of a graphic of “Carrara²” and a loop that repeatedly shows the world “loading.”

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