Twilight In Italy

What happens when a traditional European industry faces Asian competition? A crisis. Welcome to Manzano, Italy's chair capital

MASSIMO SIRAGUSA / CONTRASTO FOR TIME

Manzano's giant 23-ton chair is a reminder of the town's more prosperous times

The biggest chair in the world stands seven stories tall, weighs almost 23 tons and is found just to the left of the second traffic light in the tiny town of Manzano (pop. 7,000) in the northeastern corner of Italy near the Slovenian border. The red pine monument is not some avant-garde artistic statement. It's an oversize acknowledgment by the community of the industry that brought immense prosperity to Manzano and 10 small burgs around it over the past half-century. Known as the "chair triangle" (il triangolo della sedia), this district every year produces as many as 40 million chairs of...

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