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News - The Social Responsibility Project in Real Belvedere di San Leucio

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Luca Larenza presents the Fall Winter 2021/22 Collection creating a connection with the Campania region by giving life to a Social Responsibility project to restore value to a place, synonymous with excellence in the world.

The shots are set at a UNESCO heritage site: the Real Belvedere in San Leucio.

The historic site was born in 1779 from King Ferdinand's dream of giving life to an autonomous community, founded on the production of the finest silk, now well known throughout the world for its refinement and elegance. The monumental complex contains among its many rooms a small jewel of industrial archeology, a large room with perfectly functioning wooden looms for the production and processing of silk.

The general and important starting point of Luca Larenza's work is precisely the selection of excellent quality raw materials, which are the perfect blank canvas on which Luca Larenza can let his creativity explode, with the creation of garments that never cease to amaze and acquire value over time.

It is also from this specific connecting element that the choice fell on the silk museum, which in addition to representing a piece of Italian culture emphasizes the qualities of the raw materials, an expression of Italian excellence.

According to Luca Larenza, the site is “an extradordinary historical-manufacturing reality on the National scene” and the idea to celebrate it through this project was born during the first lockdown. A break that prompted Larenza to return home, to its origins and to rediscover the artisanal and artistic heritage of Campania.

“After so many years I visited San Leucio and I was fascinated by it. Enthusiastic”.

It was a revealing walk that laid the foundations for experimenting with new possibilities.

After a dialogue with the Officials of the Municipality of Caserta Luca Larenza decided to combine the photographic set with a concrete action. A Social Responsibility project was born, and in agreement with the headquarters of the Fine Arts, Luca Larenza took part in the restoration of the prestigious Silk-Looms dating back to the 19th century, devoured by moths and lack of maintenance, kept inside the Silk Museum.

The works, which began in early December, ended during the first days of 2021.Today, thanks to this intervention these Looms have a new life, they have returned to shine again and continue with pride to perpetrate their historical testimony.

It is a beautiful example of a creative project that finds maximum expression by embracing the concept of sustainability in an unprecedented way, through the enhancement of history, to continue a story that deserves to be heard by those who will come.

The designer has tried to respectfully measure himself with the cultural heritage of San Leucio. San Leucio is therefore a territory that led Luca Larenza to question the past, the secrets of techniques and knowledge that are perhaps obsolete. Therefore, he has personally invested in the restoration of some frames.

Luca Larenza said: “For me it was natural to enhance a piece of my land. I could not turn away. We were able to restore the functionality of the looms and without the experience of expert weavers and carpenters this would have been impossible. One of the most complicated aspects was precisely that of being able to find workers capable of operating on ancient machinery". This is why those professions, now rare, should be defended.

The Silk Museum

The Silk Museum is located in via del setificio, 5, Real Belvedere di Caserta. It is made up of several sections: the industrial archeology section, namely the ancient Silk Factory, the Historic Apartment and the Royal Gardens.

The tour, enriched by multimedia devices that help the understanding of the enormous work behind each silk product, develops over two floors and winds through the nine hand looms that produce brocades, lampas, damasks and the famous "Leucian blanket"; the two enormous twisters and the water wheel that gives them movement; and then the so-called “Bagno di Maria Carolina”, a real indoor swimming pool, the work of the first court painter P. Hackert, and then the rooms painted by F. Fischetti, G.Cammarano; finally, the panoramic terraces of the Royal Gardens.

The history of the Belvedere of San Leucio di Caserta is very fascinating.

It all began in 1773 when the young King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, who loved to participate in hunting trips, had the wood fenced around the rich Renaissance residence of the Acquaviva princes: the Belvedere in San Leucio.

Ferdinand had the first free Italian compulsory school established here and then introduced a raw silk factory to provide those boys and girls a job once they were educated.

Thus the major specialists in the art of silk came from afar to teach them how to work, build machines and manage production. Many young people left San Leucio for the first internships abroad, returning rich in knowledge to share. Ferdinand encouraged the cultivation of mulberry trees and sericulture for the production of silkworms, thus creating the entire production cycle.

The manufacture of silk made it possible to employ female and male workers at the same time. For this reason the King gave each family a loom to be placed in the center of the house so that each family could love and pass on the art of silk. The houses for the workers were designed keeping in mind all the urban planning rules of the time, to ensure that they lasted over time, and in fact they are still inhabited today.

In 1789 the Royal Manufacture became an autonomous entity through the promulgation of a specific code of laws inspired by the Enlightenment-style social renewal program. There was no difference between individuals, whatever the work they did, men and women enjoyed total equality in a system that hinged exclusively on meritocracy. Private property was abolished, assistance to the elderly and infirm was guaranteed, and the value of brotherhood was exalted.

Ferdinand IV of Bourbon thought of a utopian project to build a large city called Fernandopoli, and construction began with the help of Francesco Collecini, first aide to the much more famous Luigi Vanvitelli.

Following the Restoration, the project of the new city was set aside and subsequently the special community regime was abolished, but tradition and quality in the production of silk fabrics have remained until today.



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