The Italian Diaries

The Italian Diaries

The Italian Diaries

Business student Lily Smith explores Venice's entrepreneurial scene

Lily is studying Business and Management (Festivals and Events) and is about to go into her second year. Here, she shares her experiences of three very different Venetian businesses...

Day one

On arrival in Venice, we caught a private boat taxi to our lovely Airbnb on the waterfront. As someone who had never visited Italy before, it came as a surprise to me that there are no roads in Venice; only canals! So the boat taxi was the perfect way to arrive in style and have a sneak peek at what was to come in Venice.

We arrived at the Airbnb - an old style Venetian house on the waterfront - it was so beautiful! We then dropped off our bags and headed out for an Aperol Spritz and some late night sightseeing.

We saw...

  • The Rialto Bridge (the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal)
  • St Mark's Square’s oldest orchestra playing at a silver service café - Caffè Florian
  • We also had a sneak peek at the lavish Hotel Danieli - the hotel overlooks the Venice lagoon and is a couple of minutes' walk from St Mark's Square.

We then headed back to our home for the night for some well-deserved rest. 

Day two

In the morning we woke up to find that our Airbnb host had dropped off fresh croissants for our breakfast. We were also greeted by next door's friendly feline. 

We caught the Venetian idea of a taxi (a Gondola) across the canal and headed off to meet Arianna at her beautiful printmaking workshop and store, Plum Plum Creations, to see how she built her passion in to a business!

Arianna showed us how she creates her beautiful artwork and we discussed how she went from wholesaling her goods to retailers to owning her own shop. We also discussed her strategy and marketing techniques. Arianna utilises YouTube and social media platforms such as Facebook.

After our wonderful and interesting visit to Plum Plum Creations, we caught the train and headed to Vicenza to visit CUOA, a specialist Business School, to meet with the director and discuss their MBA, Master's and summer school Business programmes.

The university was beautiful; it was once the home of a wealthy family and the first Business School in Italy, founded in 1957.

We were shown around the huge gardens, halls of residence, and the stunning lecture theatres. Turns out that rich home owners would build their homes to look more magnificent on the side facing their garden rather than the street, as the beauty of the home was mostly to be enjoyed by the owners.

After this, we caught a taxi to Loison, a family bakery company specialising in panettone, established in 1938.

We met with Dario Loison to discuss how his family bakery business had flourished through the generations. We discussed Loison’s business strategies, Dario's entrepreneurial vision, marketing techniques, products, and all things Italy!

Dario was so welcoming, and had created a leaflet for us. It included interesting topics that could be discussed during the visit in the next academic year. We even shared a delicious Italian dessert wine (Recioto Di Gambellara) and sampled some of products Loison has to offer… yum!

We then had a tour of the factory and met Sonia, Dario’s wife, who designs the wonderful packaging that makes the products such a success. After the meeting Dario gave us a lovely bag filled with panettone, fruit infused biscuits, and other delights! 

Since meeting with Dario, I've been so inspired that I've got a summer job at Charbonnel et Walker, a luxury firm of chocolate makers, to get an insight into how operations, production and packaging work in fine confectionary manufacturing.

We then headed home to a swish bachelor pad for the evening, and of course I ordered in an authentic Italian pizza!

Day three

On the final full day in Italy we were up bright and early to catch the train to Udine to visit our Erasmus Partner, University of Udine (UNIUD).

We were greeted at the station by a senior lecturer and taken to IGA (Institute of Applied Genomics). This was an interesting experience, as we were shown a different kind of business.

IGA carries out research on structural and functional genomics in plant species such as grapevines, wheat, biomass poplar, coffee, olive, citrus, and animal and fish species.

IGA uses this knowledge to help create grapevines for wine production that are not at risk of being ruined by pests. It has also developed genome sequencing; this could be used to help treat illnesses in humans and assess gene patterns to see if an individual has genes which make them susceptible to certain illnesses.

We were then taken for lunch in Udine near the university (of course I had pizza, again!☺)

After lunch, we were shown around UNIUD's facilities, including the ICT suite, library and the lecture theatres. We then caught the train back to Venice for our final night in a beautiful Airbnb and enjoyed our last Italian supper at a local restaurant before flying home in the morning.

Lily's trip was part of a Business School project to promote student international mobility and to foster connections with international businesses with a view to developing live projects / international student placements.

Deborah Bowe, Senior Lecturer and Bath Business School International student mobility champion, said:

"We're working with our students as partners to define a series of short international study experiences which will run this next academic year."

Lily acted as our student ambassador on this taster trip to Venice.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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