Brunello Cucinelli was born into a peasant family in Castel Rigone, a 15th century little hamlet nearby Perugia, in 1953. After obtaining a diploma as building surveyor, he enrolled in the faculty of Engineering but then dropped out. In 1978 he set up a small company and captivated the market with his idea of dying cashmere. Since when he was a boy, he witnessed his father working in an unwelcoming environment and became a close observer of the world, thus developing his dream to promote a concept of work that ensured respect for the human being’s moral and economic dignity.
This is a key element to understand his personality and the success of his business, which Brunello considers not only as a wealth-generating entity, but also as a framework to develop and nurture his dream of a capitalism that enhances the human being. His knowledge of the great figures of the past has always fed his dreams and ideals, but he is always looking ahead towards the distant future, and each action and accomplishment of his is designed to last over the centuries.
In 1982, after marrying Federica Benda, Brunello moved to Solomeo, which became the venue to make his dreams come true and a great workshop to build his success as an entrepreneur and humanist. The increasingly international market welcomed his quality products warmly and enabled him to implement his ideals. In 1985 he purchased the fourteenth century tumbledown castle in the hamlet and made it into his corporate headquarters; in 2000, with a view to meet the market’s growing demand with adequate production facilities, he acquired and refurbished an existing plant at the foot of the Solomeo hill instead of building new facilities.
The newly-built Forum of the Art, including the Neohumanistic Aurelian Library, the Gymnasium, the Amphitheatre and the Theatre, became the ideal venue for culture and art. The desire to list the company in the Milan Stock Exchange was born around this time and became reality in 2012. This move, too, was not driven by financial reasons alone, as Brunello saw a wider participation in his business activity as an opportunity to spread his ideals of a new capitalism, a truly “Humanistic Capitalism”.
The experience of the Forum of the Arts, built exclusively by Umbrian master craftsmen, spawned the idea of the Solomeo School of Arts and Crafts, which was established in 2013 and was inspired by William Morris and John Ruskin. Brunello’s vision entails that the memory of an important humanistic factor such as craftsmanship is preserved and passed on to future generations; therefore the school is the workshop where this aspiration becomes reality.