The Silk Road passes through the San Leucio Colony

This is where the silk decor for the Vatican and Quirinal Palace was made, as well as flags for Buckingham Palace and the Oval Office in the White House: an industrial complex built by will of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, who after the heir to the throne had died of smallpox decided to have a shelter for the poor built within his residence in San Leucio, Caserta. Next to the shelter, he had a factory built – so that laziness could not take over.

From the late 18th century to the present, the “Reale Colonia di San Leucio” – now a hamlet in Caserta, which originally was a hermitage with a vineyard and a small woods, where the king stayed for short periods of time during the year – has grown into a network of companies, under the brand “San Leucio Textile”. What had begun as a small charitable project by the king from the House of Bourbon, inspired by the values of Neapolitan Enlightenment, has thus transformed into an extraordinary business venture.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, when Ferdinand was still alive, a number of buildings were added – including a church, a warehouse, a spinning mill, accommodation for the teachers and pavilions for the machinery. The people who were assigned a home inside the village had their days controlled by specific community routines, designed to make them almost completely self-sufficient, as they received professional training from the directors of each Craft. All of Europe soon realized how powerful this innovative example near Naples was, based on teamwork between silk workers who could easily collaborate with craftsmen from France, Genoa, Piedmont and Messina alike.

In 1862, everything came to a halt when the Savoy shut down activities and later the colony itself. But in the 1970s, the Milan Polytechnic, in collaboration with Pennsylvania University, started a research projects that allows the “San Leucio Textile” brand to spur innovation to this day, venturing into markets all over the world to meet their strong need for beauty.

“San Leucio Textile”
San Leucio (Caserta)
Via Roma, 17
Tel.: +39  0823 325422

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July 1, 2019