The Italian steel industry has for a long time been divided in two areas: the Tyrrhenian district on the coast, organised in the form of "integral cycle", and the Alpine district, mainly based in Lombardy, concerned with "solid metal charge", that is scrap metal. The aim of this article is to shown as, during the XIXth e XXth Century, the small traditional steel makers in the Alpine area passed from the marginal position to the leadership in the Italian industry. We have focused on the principal aspects, like technology, market and organization to demonstrated the capacity of these enterprises to compete whit the State Owned Enterprise. Among them, the most meaningful example of a successful company was Luigi Lucchini’s, whose happy destiny brought the Lombard steel producers to be, together with Riva’s, one of the main characters in the privatisation phase of the state-owned steel mills at the end of the Century.
Keywords: Entrepreneur, enterprise, steel company, technology, market, family