Casa Scozia is a new non-profit entity set up to promote everything to do with Scotland in Italy. This will include Scottish cultural events (ceilidh dances, Scottish Country Dancing courses, Highland balls, folk concerts, theatre, ballet, etc.), Scottish sports events (6 Nations rugby, soccer) and Scottish produce (whisky, craft beers, Aberdeen Angus beef – spotted on sale at Il Centre, the new shopping centre in Arese – seafood – especially fresh and smoked salmon, scampi, scallops, oysters, etc. – lamb, venison, etc., cashmere, knitwear. Not to mention Scottish tourism.
Casa Scozia will essentially be an online platform to publicise all of the above, not only to the Scottish community in Italy, but above all to Italians. The aim is to attract a good crowd to all promotional events so that anything Scottish can gain maximum visibility in Italy. The visibility that it deserves and has not yet achieved, for a number of reasons.
The reasons are fairly complex, but could be summarised as follows:
- Scotland is part of Great Britain, so Scottish goods tend to be sold as British, or worse, as English.
- Scotland as a brand gets much heralded in the homeland, but apart from certain flagship products (malt whisky, smoked salmon), this separate identity tends not to have sufficient investment behind it to influence markets beyond the classic Scottish diaspora (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), whereas we are convinced that Scotland deserves to be marketed in “secondary markets” like Italy as well, because most Italians appreciate quality. And Scotland is producing many high quality products.
- Scotland, like Britain in general, still has a very good reputation for certain things that was earned in the 19thcentury and may or may not still apply; whereas it has earned a lousy reputation for eating out, for example, which was true up to 20 years ago, but which is no longer the case. In Scotland, you can eat extremely well. But how many Italians know that?
- Scotland also tends to lose out as a holiday destination among those who crave baking in the sun on a hot crowded beach. But even Italians complain when it gets too hot. That’s when they should go to Scotland and appreciate a 10° drop in temperature. Puts a whole new slant on “chilling out”.
The name “Casa Scozia” harks back to EXPO. We, the founders of Casa Scozia, wanted the British Government to set up a “Casa UK” in Milan to act as a focal point for British events. Instead, they decided to stick with the UK Pavilion. It was frustrating, because Britain could have done so much more during EXPO. In the end, the period of maximum attraction was during the Scottish Week, when we had the Orobian Pipe Band (from Bergamo!) march in triumph down the Decumano (see some photos here). Followed by food and drink tastings and a Scottish ceilidh dance.
We have set up Casa Scozia in remembrance of that wonderful experience. Join us!