MILAN — “A Project for Beauty” is the name given by the Fondazione Brunello and Federica Cucinelli to its latest development in Solomeo, Italy, the medieval village near Perugia that doubles as the headquarters for fashion brand Brunello Cucinelli SpA. In fact, Brunello Cucinelli has spent the past 30 years restoring the town. For the new project, the entrepreneur on Wednesday presented in Milan his plans for the creation of three parks at the foot of Solomeo to be financed by his privately owned foundation.
The Industrial Park will cover 27 acres and replace six industrial buildings that Cucinelli bought to dismantle. The buildings span over approximately 376,737 square feet. The Secular Parish Youth Center Park will encompass a small, barrier-free stadium on 15 acres of land, while the Agricultural Park, approximately 173 acres of land, will be destined for vegetable gardens, vineyards, olive groves, orchards and trees, in addition to various field crops, such as wheat, corn and sunflowers. The products will be used for local consumption in the company’s restaurant.
“My dad, who is 92 years old, always wonders: Do you want to be the richest in the cemetery? No. There is a relation between profit and a gift, and this is my gift for the future generations as a custodian of the territory. If you consider yourself an owner, it’s more difficult,” said Cucinelli, standing on the stage of Milan’s Piccolo Teatro Strehler as before and after project images, which also depicted the valley around Solomeo, were shown. “My dream is for the valley to return to its original splendor and that we will leave it this way for our children and their offspring. I am sure that beauty will save the world and that beauty will be reflected in our products,” he said, generally speaking of Italian craft.
He also quoted the Emperor Hadrian: “We are responsible for the beauty of the world.” A staunch supporter of Made in Italy production, he underscored that, in the past, the buildings, which date back to the Seventies, were not used for any kind of manufacturing but as warehouses. Cucinelli, whose family was in farming, recalled his own ties to the land and his desire to “restore dignity” to it.
Demolition of the buildings is to start next week, and the project should be completed in about 18 months, but the youth center is expected to be opened in four to five months.
The foundation, which is also named after Cucinelli’s wife, Federica, is separate from the publicly listed fashion brand. Cucinelli declined to disclose the sum invested in the project.
Separately, he noted that the Etruscan Arch in Perugia — located in Italy’s Umbria region, 10 miles from Solomeo and restored thanks to the support of the Cucinelli company — will be unveiled in two weeks. Also known as the Arch of Augustus, it dates back to the third century B.C. and, as the main gate into the north side of the historic center, is one of the symbols of the city.