Intel and the outgoing Italian government have seemingly settled on the town of Vigasio, Veneto, as the site for a multi-billion European chip fab in Italy according to unconfirmed reports. The town is located about 14km (9 miles) southwest of Verona, and has been named by two people familiar with the deal, sharing information with Reuters.
At first glance, Vigasio appears to be an unremarkable small town in the north of Italy, with a population of under 7,500 at the last census. However, it is located nearby key resources which were probably instrumental in its selection; close to the Brenner motorway and railway, and with good connections to Magdeburg, Germany according to the source report. A quick check reveals the purported Italian site and Magdeburg are nearly 1,000km apart (or about 600 miles), and an approx 10 hour drive.
Though Intel considered many geographically diverse Italian sites in its hunt for the best location for a European advanced semiconductor packaging and assembly plant, it ended up with a shortlist of two in Italy’s northernmost regions. After extensive deliberations, Vigasio and a site in the Piedmont region were neck and neck in a shortlist of two. However, Reuters sources say the decision was made in Vigasio’s favor in early September.
No official announcement regarding Intel’s favored Italian location has been made so far. Reports say the information has been held back so as not to influence the election, in which far-right candidate Giorgia Meloni has today claimed victory. Meloni’s party, the Brothers of Italy, is described by the BBC as likely to form Italy’s most right wing party since WWII.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the almost certain electoral victory of the Brothers of Italy. The election winner will have to put their seal of approval on the deal with Intel. Thus, a continual funding stream from Rome will flow to Intel under whatever new government is formed, and Intel can be relatively confident the same new government will continue to encourage its establishment of a wide range of complementary semiconductor operations within Europe.
It is hard to understand why any newly victorious political party would put roadblocks in front of Intel’s deal, which promises 1,500 full time jobs, plus an additional 3,500 jobs in local support industries. However, around Europe, host countries are typically footing 40% of Intel’s facility establishment costs and providing other perks.
If all goes to plan, the Italy-based advanced semiconductor packaging and assembly plant will begin operations between 2025-27. It will be joining two chipmaking plants in Magdeburg (Germany), another new fab in Leixlip (Ireland), a new R&D and chip design center in France, and a lab extension for Poland.
Intel plans to invest about 80 billion Euros ($77.5 billion) in Europe over the next decade.