Italy's Booming North: Land of Autocratic, Energetic Business Giants


EACH opening night during the opera season, Milan's Via Manzoni is transformed from a bustling commercial street to a river of wealth and elegance. Bumper to bumper, a seemingly endless line of Mercedes, Alfa Romeos, Lancias and Maseratis inches toward the Piazza della Scala, their high-powered engines being raced by traffic-frustrated drivers. Pulling up before La Scala's neoclassic facade, the cars discharge their cargoes—usually an Italian businessman, resplendent in white tie, and his bejeweled wife, dressed in a Fontana, Capucci or Dior.

Milan's opulence is no sudden sparkle or passing phenomenon. The...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!