Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SOLOMEO [ Umbria ]

It sounded familiar,'Solomeo', and then I remembered it was the town in Umbria, not far from Panicale, that was the topic of an article I had read some months back. Then, James saw in The International New York Times a page, in graphics, about Italian landmarks that are being restored with the help of businesses.

Brunello Cucinelli, the crowned prince of cashmere had been looking for a place to expand his industry.

The Umbrian hill town of Solomeo dated from the late 12th century, but was falling into ruin.
His vision was to build his factory and world headquarters here. But, his vision was not just focused on business, his intend was to restore the town and bring a new life energy to it. Creating jobs was only the beginning.

Cucinelli is a humanist. Here in Solomeo his mission was not only to bring work to the people of the region and to restore the town, but to create a place of beauty and culture. His plans included a theatre, school, garden and library. Those plans have been realized. The church in the center of town is being restored, and the interior is really quite amazing. Currently there are artisans working on the interior, and were working the day we visited.

Looking down from the hill town to the valley just below is the factory as well as a newly planted vineyard and olive grove....all part of Cucinelli's plan for this place of industry, culture and beauty.

We were all hungry....

Just down the hill from the center of town is a Bar / Bottega where we thought we might get a panini or something for a light lunch.  The woman at the back counter suggested a plate of local cheese and cured meats. A good idea we thought and order that. The four of us relaxed at a small table outside. The weather was perfect. This is what arrived at our table!

A fantastic selection of local Umbrian cheeses and meats as promised!
It was perfectly delicious.
Umbrians take great pride in the food from their region, and why not, when this is what they offer.

All in all, an interesting visit to a place we had never visited before.

Oh, and by the way, there is a Brunello Cucinelli retail store in the center of town. The cashmere products he makes are of the finest quality. The clothes are beautiful and refined.
There is a renaissance in the making here in Solomeo, lead by a creative thinker Brunello Cucinelli who has looked to the creative minds of the past and brought those ideas forward to now  and acted upon it all.
One disappointment.......Debbie and I were hoping to find an 'outlet store' here!
It no longer exists.....darn!

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