How Brunello Cucinelli Restored an Ancient Italian Village

The fashion designer restored a medieval town to create an inspiring environment for his employees…

Photo by Cultura Travel/Philip Lee Harvey/Getty images

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The success of his namesake Italian fashion brand provided BRUNELLO CUCINELLI the resources to acquire and restore the historic properties in the center of Solomeo, a medieval village in Umbria. He began the project in 1985 and relocated his company to Solomeo from the nearby city of Perugia two years later. The restoration has transformed the village into a self-sustaining community and a veritable work utopia.  

“When I first started the company in 1978, I knew I wanted to create something more than just a brand; I wanted to build something that would provide a better life for other people and for the community. I’m the son of a farmer, born and raised in Umbria, so the region is very close to my heart. And Solomeo is the hometown of my wife, Federica. 

“I saw this beautiful hamlet that was starting to fall apart, and I felt inspired to revive its beauty. I have dedicated much effort into restoring the town with the intention of creating a space that is beautiful for people to enjoy not only now, but for many years beyond my time. I believe in maintaining and respecting the history of this town that I love so much. I have built the theater so the community can enjoy the arts, and I have built the schools so that education remains important among young people. I am very passionate about working to build a better future for the next generations and keeping in mind the caretaker-spirit ideal that the great teachers of humanity conveyed to us. 

“I truly believe in creating the highest quality of life for our employees. This means creating balance, providing an inspiring work environment, and encouraging healthy living. One of the ways we do this is by providing fresh lunch in our company canteen. The food is locally grown and cooked fresh daily, offering a menu of different Umbrian specialties. Additionally, we leave the office promptly at 5:30 pm, so that people can spend time at home to enjoy their families. And I discourage people from using their e-mail after work hours. I believe that the best creativity comes from a peaceful mind, and I encourage my employees to be creative every day. I think people are ultimately more productive and happy when they have a nice work environment. 

“The success of the company has allowed me to give back in a way that makes me very happy. It has continued to fulfill me through watching my family, community, and employees be able to enjoy a rich quality of life, and I find happiness knowing that many generations beyond me will enjoy it too.” 

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