The manufacturing spirit accountable for Rovereto's growth over the centuries is still alive and well, it just changed its skin.
As we mentioned in the chapter dedicated to the industrial story of Rovereto, the large manufacturing industries that shaped the face of the city over the centuries are no longer in business. In their place, many new companies active in sectors more in line with the new smart specialisations chosen by Trentino to pursue a fully sustainable development.
From cotton to mechatronics, from tobacco to the circular economy. For Rovereto, adapting to contemporaneity meant a paradigm shift, carried out without ever denying the past. A true jump into the future, narrated by Invest in Trentino through the story of Trentino's two major innovative realities that found the perfect environment to grow in Rovereto: Polo Meccatronica and Progetto Manifattura.
Rovereto Technology Hub: a story of reinvention
Progetto Manifattura and Polo Meccatronica share the city and the same history of postindustrial rebirth since they both rose from the ashes of industrial complexes left vacant by companies that, between the 19th and 20th centuries, had revolutionised the social and productive structure of the city, leading it into modernity.
When it was time to enter the contemporary world, history did not hesitate to reiterate itself: thanks to Trentino Sviluppo, the agency for development and territorial marketing of the autonomous Province of Trento founded in Rovereto in 1986 and entrusted with the management of the two centres, the city could count on two strong, innovative and attractive realities ready to guide, once again, the future development of the city.
Polo Meccatronica is Trentino Sviluppo's high-tech incubator and is located on the historic site that once housed the Pirelli cotton mill, where from 1925 to 1982 cotton was processed for the production of electric cables and tyres.
The technology hub covers 130,000 square metres, where companies, students and researchers work closely together, fostering the social and economic development of the entire Trentino production system. It is home to about 78 companies and industrial realities and four schools with professional, technical and higher education courses, for a total of about 450 students.
Polo Meccatronica also hosts ProM Facility, a mechatronic prototyping laboratory unique in Italy, the joint effort of the autonomous Province of Trento, Trentino Sviluppo, Fondazione Bruno Kessler and the University of Trento.
Progetto Manifattura is one of Europe's largest incubators in the green economy and a centre of industrial innovation in the fields of eco-sustainable building, renewable energy, circular economy, sport-tech and biotechnology. It provides companies with a production platform consisting of physical spaces (including the 25,000 square metres of the new Be Factory compendium), infrastructure, services, expertise and specialised knowledge.
The incubator is the result of the renovation of the 9 hectares of the historic Manifattura Tabacchi, which for more than 150 years, starting in the mid 19th century, provided work for thousands of factory workers.
Progetto Manifattura also hosts Italy's first district for energy and the environment (Habitech), three research centres (CIMEC, CeRiSM and Microsoft COSBI), the master's degree course in Mountain Sports Science and accelerators for start-ups.