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Renaissance is a beautiful word: it means re-birth. The conditions for creation of a renaissance include conflict, great wealth, societal change, and technological advance. And we are at this point in the world today! These are the conditions to create something new, different and great.


The great Renaissance of 500 years ago was Italian through and through – and until the French captured the story in the 19th century it was known by its Italian genesis ‘Rinascimento’. It was the rebirth of Italian style after the middle ages. What were the roots of that great rebirth and the magnificent creation that arose from it? Possibly, four causes stand out: classics, competition, communications and commerce.

In the mid fourteenth century, scholars began to seek a return to the classics and over the next century, studies of ancient Greek texts grew rapidly with the establishment of schools throughout Italy. The competition among Florence nobles and bankers, that between the Venetians and the Genoese, and the earlier and then on-going competition in the Mediterranean (dating from the Byzantine era), which gave rise to the Venetian ‘empire’ of the Renaissance period were ones linked to finance, commerce and communication.

Communication is an outcome as well as often a precursor of competition. Travel to trading centres was the means of communication – by land and by sea (and if Leonardo had had his way, by helicopter), printing had become widespread as the Italians discovered the secrets of the German printers in their cities and books (known as incunables or incunabula before 1501) were the source of both learning and a support to trade.

By about 1482, Venice was the capital of worldwide printing. It was Luca Pacioli in 1494 who published a treatise on mathematics in Venice that included a chapter on the Venetian technique of double entry bookkeeping. And power was the source of wealth from commerce. In Italy merchants were not limited to Venice but included the power centres of Florence, Milan, Genoa and the Papal States.

For the powerful and the wealthiest, the need not yet achieved by their wealth was self-actualisation, the highest level of what we now call the Maslov Pyramid. This need for effective immortality, (which may have arisen from ‘living’ with the Plague) is represented in the great religious art and architecture of the period from late XIV century.

The men of wealth and power were assured by Luca Pacioli’s treatise that their wealth was secure in their records of profitable trade and their assets. So the competition that arose was the sponsorship of science, medicine, art and architecture – and this was the Renaissance. And the output of the Renaissance did not come from the great enterprises of trade and merchant navies, but from the workshops of the masters, from the artisans, from the SMEs of 500 years ago.

Who knows the real story of the Duomo of Florence and the astonishing Dome of Brunelleschi? Originally the Dome was to be much smaller, but then the city of Pisa had created their wonderful Duomo, the Battistero and the famous leaning Tower that was bigger than the Duomo that Florence was building. So Florence did a “Zoom Out” and started a much larger construction. A church so big that no-one was able to design and build a Dome. No-one until Brunelleschi the genius who decided to take the challenge and create one of the world marvels. Brunelleschi was an architect, an engineer, a painter, an artist and a mathematician wrapped into one package. He was a genius and for 400 years nobody understood how he could have realized the Dome that had its genesis in his studies of the Pantheon in Rome. But the Dome is here and it is one of the great symbols of Renaissance.

What has lived on in Italy from the first Renaissance? It is artisanship and dependence on small groups of artisans. In the 1990s nearly 60% % of employees in manufacturing in Italy worked in companies with fewer than 50 employees – and 26% were employed in companies with fewer than 10 employees, micro businesses. It is this backbone of Italian society that is being destroyed in the Europe of today that concentrates on money making money. What can be done to give these ‘companies’ of artisans the recognition they deserve and the opportunities they need to survive and grow for the good of our real society? There are two needs that are common to many of these firms. They need new products and/or new markets for their skills, their intellectual property and their efforts.

How does this relate to Energitismo? The time is right for a Rinascimento della Sostenibilità – Renaissance of Sustainability. Our world has been brought to the edge of destruction by waste and pollution from use of non-renewable energy. We need a rebirth. Financial structuring has brought renewable energy to the forefront as an answer to environmental destruction, but the answers are not just poor style, but basically ugly. The windpower towers and fields of dead blue-black solar panels have turned our eyes to heaven seeking a recovery of beauty and style. None of these solutions can be part of a villa except when strategically hidden from our gaze.

Energitismo has created a solution. Link artistic creation with clean energy technology in a range of artisan built products to meet the demands of even the most exotic villa – to customise and personalise clean energy products to be part of the lifestyle wishes of the lady of the house. This solution draws together artisans’ workshops from around the world in ‘Italian Style’ to provide every solution for clean energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, and Energy Eco & Art. Energitismo brings new technologies to create new products and through the Energitismo network, artisans workshops (SMEs) can find new markets and alliances with others having complementary skills.

Energitismo promotes through today’s communications channels and commerce tools as well as linking to the traditional atelier showroom workshops and providing exhibitions of unique products from the network of artisans. Energitismo is a business for businesses, a workshop for artists and a source for the most fastidious shopper. The analogies to the first Renaissance are tangible and the opportunity for the Renaissance of Sustainability is just as real. Energitismo, il Rinascimento della Sosteniblità.

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses


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