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Since the Cultural anche Creative sector in made of multiple industries, the data sources used are numerous. That is why not all information is updated taking into account the same year or time frame. In either titles or descriptions the year considered is always indicated.


The Treccani dictionary defines internationalization as a “process in which one (or more) activities that characterize the functioning of an organization takes place in other states”. This description adapts well to the needs of CCIs since it outlines a wide range of potential actions
Indeed, accessing foreign markets can have different meanings and vary substantially depending on the subsectors considered, objectives, dynamics, opportunities available.


Most CCIs fall under the tertiary sector, nevertheless, it is still very relevant to monitor data related to foreign trade.

The following data visualizations show the volume of business generated by export activities and a comparison among the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

In 2022, within CCIs, there will be more than €270 million exports and €150 million imports, with a negative balance of -113 million euros.

The subsector that exports the most is that of books, periodicals and other publishing activities.
2020 marked a significant decline in exports compared to 2019. In 2021 there was a slight recovery but only in 2022 pre-pandemic levels were observed

CCIs’ peculiar characteristics also emerge when internationalization is addressed.
What does it mean for culture and creativity to access new markets? It depends.

In theatre, for instance, going international can mean implementing specific strategies to increase tours abroad. Performing in different cities – both nationally and internationally – is, indeed, of the essence within the business model of theatre companies.

For the film industry, it is not only about selling audiovisual products to foreign cinema owners. Production houses also benefit from establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with their counterparts in other countries in order to access further grants.

International fairs and exhibitions are pivotal for visual artists: these initiatives can be their launching pad because they allow them to have more visibility and get in touch with curators.

Those in the publishing sector can, among other things, get in contact with cultural institutions abroad which might be interested in supporting the translation and promotion of their works.

For other creative sectors, such as design and fashion, dynamics might be similar to more traditional sectors: going international can allow enterprises to access specific materials or find new customers and retailers.

There are many elements that should be taken into consideration when discussing CCIs internationalization. Several pieces of information – which are not yet provided by official statistics sources – will be explored through qualitative analysis as well as the experience of the professionals operating in this sector.       

International fairs

The international flair of the Emilia-Romagna region is tangible. Thanks to its exhibition centres, this territory counts on a wide array of initiatives and the participation of organizations and professionals from all over the world all year long.

The region is home to 8 international fairs related to CCIs, from the most renowned – e.g. Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, a must for professionals specialized in children’s literature – to those dedicated to a niche group of users – e.g. FAMAART The Frame Place.



Internationalization is made of, among other things, all of those initiatives aimed at underlining the central role played by cultural heritage in representing specific territories: the most well-known actions are the ones developed by UNESCO, which identifies important sites that the global community should have at heart.

Being listed among the places preserved and supported by this organization can encourage new types of tourism, joint initiatives with other cities, and intercultural exchanges.

In Emilia-Romagna there 23 world heritage sites: Ferrara – Renaissance city – and the delta of Po river,  8 Paleochristian monuments in Ravenna; the cathedral, the civic tower and the main square in Modena; and, from 2021, Bologna’s porticos. Among its naturalistic heritage, there is Sasso Fratino reserve, in the province of Forlì- Cesena.

The region also hosts places and symbols that have received  recognitions from UNESCO.

Unesco Cultural and Creative CITIES

The project was designed to connect cities from all over the world that have used creativity and an instrument fostering economic development. Among the 180 cities recognized, there is Bologna, UNESCO Creative City for Music, Parma, UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy, Modena, UNESCO Creative City for the Media Arts.

MAB UNESCO – Man and Biosphere program

This scientific programme promotes a balanced relation between mankind and nature, by encouraging the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.
This initiative also includes the Reserves of the Biospheres, a network aimed at stimulating activities in collaboration with institutions and local communities in favour of the environment: Delta del po reserve and the Tuscan-Emilia Appennins are part of it.

World heritage and a culture of peace

In this category there are: International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza; Sluice of Casalecchio in the province of Bologna, Santa Cecilia Abbey in San Lazzaro di Savena.

Memory of the world programme

The project was created to preserve documentary heritage in order to collect and protect renowned international collections. UNESCO promotes state-of-the-art preservation techniques and encourages the consultation of documents through specific promotional actions. To reach these objectives, the organization proposed a register listing all the places that are proof of important historical events. Malatesta library in Cesena is among them: it is the only humanistic library perfectly preserved.

The publishing sector: a report of the focus group

26 November 2020
Before enacting the first regional law dedicated to the publishing sector, launched in 2021, the Emilia-Romagna Region set up a participatory ...read more