On Sept. 1, the Italian Trade Commission opened a full office inside the Italian Consulate in Coral Gables. The office, only the fifth in the U.S., marks a milestone in a relationship that has rapidly grown in importance during the past three years. The value of goods flowing between Italy and Florida rose 19% between 2010 and 2012, to hit $1.78 billion. Several Italian companies have contracts for government work in the state, including AnsaldoBreda, which has $300-million contract to supply cars for Miami-Dade’s Metrorail system, and TREVI Group, which will be doing maintenance on the Herbert Hoover Dike near Lake Okeechobee. On the Florida side, Realtors report Italians are investing in south Florida homes and condos.