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Big business in a small town: how Cesena, Italy, became the heart of the wellness valley.

Despite rapid growth and an international supply chain, Nerio Alessandri's fitness company Technogym is still headquartered in his small hometown of Cesena, Italy. Why not move the base of operations to a larger, more metropolitan location?

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"I have very strong ties with my region/' Alessandri says, "and I strongly believe that Technogym and the wellness lifestyle were not born there by chance. Romagna, our region, is well-known in Italy and in Europe for its balance between quality of life, economic wealth, good public services and people's hospitality."

In 2003, Alessandri launched the Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on research, health education and cultural initiatives, with a special emphasis on the local area. The "Wellness Valley, Romagna Benessere" project aims to establish the region as a leader in quality of life.

"Many local stakeholders followed us in this initiative by creating a lot of wellness-based best practices," Alessandri says. Businesses, government institutions, universities and the tourism industry have joined him in his quest to create an oasis in the fertile Italian valley where his company was born. Wellness holidays on the coast, health courses at universities, free checkups for citizens and citywide walking initiatives are just a few of the ways Alessandri's concept of whole-life health has spread through the region.

So it makes sense to keep his company in Cesena, a place that has eagerly adopted the company's concept of wellness. Last year, Romagna was ranked first in a happiness survey by // Sole 24 Ore, an Italian financial newspaper.

--A.A.

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Title Annotation:Starting Points for Achievers; Technogym; Nerio Alessandri
Publication:Success
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 23, 2011
Words:254
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