Italy's cities of art have discovered their potential as brands that can be licensed out to bring revenues into the city coffers. The members of the city council of Venice who came up with the idea of licensing this magic name, full of history and beauty, and Philippe Starck, the famous French designer, was given responsibility for supervising the way the various licensees would implement and use the label. Four companies have so far been granted exclusivity to use the name in their own sectors and the licensee for eyewear is Di Esse, based in the Cadore region, which will produce and distribute the Venezia Vision brand worldwide. The other licensees are Mazda for automobiles, Ricoh for photocopiers and Coté for toy pets.

Di Esse has already produced 3 collections of frames for prescription eyewear with decorative features inspired by Venetian culture and history, which went down very well at MIDO. The city council will use the royalties to finance environmental, artistic and architectural heritage initiatives and to fund alternative tourism programs based on technological innovation. Italy's other cities of art ? Florence in particular - are following the Venice initiative with great interest.