Italy has featured food, the Fiat and footwear, along with many other locally produced products, in its Made in Italy stamp series.
All of the stamps in the series include the words "Made in Italy" in English as part of the design. Also, most, but not all, of the stamps bear a denomination of €0.60.
The earliest stamps with the "Made in Italy" inscription were issued Nov. 27, 2004 (Scott 2639). These four se-tenant (side-by-side) €0.45 stamps feature Italian-made shoes. The oldest of the four companies honored, Superga, was founded in 1911 and is represented by a rubber-sole sneaker. Men's leather shoes are pictured on the stamps honoring Moreschi and Fratelli Rossetti, established in 1946 and 1953, respectively. The remaining stamp shows a green stiletto pump from Casadei, a company that traces its origins back to 1958.
Italian wine and cheese are celebrated on the most recent stamps in the series.
A stamp issued Nov. 5, 2010, honors Berlucchi wine on its 50th anniversary. The design shows a bottle of Pinot di Franciacorta from 1961. Pictured in the background is the Berlucchi estate winery.
A set of four se-tenant stamps released March 25, 2011, show gorgonzola, parmigiana reggiano, mozzarella di bufala and ragusano cheese. Ragusano and parmigiana reggiano are both made from cow's milk, and gorgonzola is from cow's or goat's milk. As its name suggests, mozzarella di bufala is made from buffalo milk.
Wine and cheese are paired together on an earlier Made in Italy stamp. According to information from Italy's post office, Poste Italiane, the stamp features the traditional ingredients for pasta all'amatriciana: spaghetti, bacon, oil, white wine, tomatoes, hot peppers and romano cheese. The design also depicts a church tower and buildings along Corso Umberto I, the main street in Amatrice. Mount Gorzano is pictured in the background. Amatrice hosts a festival dedicated to this pasta dish each year. The €0.60 stamp was issued Aug. 29, 2008 (Scott 2892), the day before the 42nd spaghetti all'amatriciana festival.
Another food-related Made in Italy stamp was released a month earlier, on July 26, 2008 (Scott 2891). Dedicated to saffron from the province of L'Aquila, this stamp shows crocus flowers and the red stigmas from which this spice is derived.
Each flower has only three stigmas, and it takes 75,000 hand-picked crocus blossoms to produce a pound of saffron, making it the world's most expensive spice.
The saffron from L'Aquila is a designated original product, and for that reason, the initials DOP are included on the stamp design.
Another quality DOP product, San Daniele prosciutto, or ham, is honored on a Made in Italy stamp issued Sept. 26, 2009 (Scott 2939). The stamp shows this guitar-shaped, uncooked, air-dried ham on a wooden chopping board in the foreground, with the town of San Daniele del Friuli and mountains in the background. The "SD" seal on the ham certifies that it is San Daniele.
Two Made in Italy stamps focus on sweet treats. A stamp issued March 11, 2006 (Scott 2729), depicts a street vendor offering gelato, Italian ice cream, and a cone with three scoops of different flavors. Like L'Aquila saffron and San Daniele prosciutto, gelato has been enjoyed in Italy for many centuries.
A newer product, Gentilini cookies, is commemorated on a stamp released Oct. 31, 2010. The Gentilini company dates back to 1890 when Pietro Gentilini opened a shop in Rome to produce shortbread cookies and bread.
In a press release announcing the stamp, the Gentilini company said: "It is an honor to celebrate our anniversary of 120 years through this stamp issue even more because [it belongs] to the series theme Made in Italy which has always been synonymous with excellence in quality, accuracy, reliability, and originality."
In addition to showing two types of the company's shortbread cookies, called biscotti, the stamp pictures an old-time cubic tin and an advertisement. The tin shows the Gentilini factory, and the advertisement features a train.
A decade after Gentilini began baking cookies in his shop in Rome, the first Fiat rolled off the assembly line at the factory in Corso Dante. A total of 24 Fiats were produced that year, 1900. The Fiat stamp in the Made in Italy series (Scott 2824) honors a much later model, the Fiat 500, introduced in 1957. The stamp reproduces a painting by Antonio Aimone of the diminutive car loaded for a day at the beach. The stamp was issued July 4, 2007.
The 100th anniversary of another Italian automaker, Alfa Romeo, was commemorated on two Made in Italy stamps released March 30, 2010. One stamp depicts the 24 HP of 1910, the first car built by Alfa Romeo. The other depicts the 2010 version of the Giulietta, a model inspired by a car of the same name from the 1950s.
The two cars are shown again, along with the 100th anniversary logo and the Alfa Romeo crest, in a label printed se-tenant with the two stamps.
The Made in Italy stamp for the Lamborghini Muira (Scott 2817) pictures the company's bull emblem rather than the sports car. The Muira was introduced in 1966, three years after Ferruccio Lamborghini launched his company to compete with Ferrari. Like many Lamborghini models, the Muira is named after a bull, in this case, a Spanish fighting bull.
Issued March 23, 2007, the Lamborghini Muira stamp is denominated €0.85, the second highest denomination in the Made in Italy series. The highest denomination, €2.80, is on a stamp dedicated to marble from Carrara (Scott 2730). This stamp was issued March 11, 2006, the same day as the Gelato stamp.
Marble has been quarried at Carrara since the days of the ancient Romans. On the stamp, a quarry is pictured in the background with Michelangelo's statue The Rebel Slave in the foreground.
Rocks of a different kind are pictured on the stamp commemorating the 125th anniversary of Bulgari (Scott 2921), a jewelry company founded by Sotirio Bulgari in 1884. Poste Italiane describes the piece of jewelry shown as a "yellow gold and platinum necklace with amethysts, turquoise stones, emeralds and diamonds, created by Bulgari in 1965 and belonging to the Bulgari vintage collection."
Frette, a manufacturer of fine linens, is honored on a Made in Italy stamp issued Oct. 29, 2010. The stamp features the company's "F" logo and a close-up look at fabric created by the jacquard technique.
Unlike the other companies commemorated on stamps in the series, Frette did not originate in Italy. According to its web site, the company was founded Dec. 1, 1860, by Jean Baptiste Edmond Frette, Alexandre Payre and Charles Chabound in Grenoble, France. The company moved to Italy five years later, opening two plants to produce its fabric on jacquard looms.
— Denise McCarty, Linn's senior editor and World of New Issues columnist
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