The types of businesses that foreigners own in Italy often fall into one of two categories: taking America to Italy or taking Italy to America. Just 10 years ago, you could walk around the streets of Rome and imagine a dozen kinds of shops that might have made money and now do: video rentals, one-hour photo kiosks, gyms, sushi restaurants, etc. These products of globalization are only slowly cropping up in smaller cities, representing what might be an emerging market for retail entrepreneurs. For professionals, it seems that there is still a sizable market for North American things in Italy.
All sorts of U.S. technology, know-how, and the English language itself are still very marketable here, even if the gap between the two continents has closed considerably in those respects in recent decades. Indeed, in many cases, the United States could stand to gain from importing certain methods and products developed in a country that isn’t as old-fashioned as many North Americans think. Italy’s classic products, such as its wine, food, fashion, cars, and bicycles, were introduced to the United States long ago, but the more you look around the world of crafts here, the more secrets you will find and may decide to bring home. The same goes for the tourist industry: There are still a few corners of Italy waiting to be discovered by travelers who would pay good money to do so.