In April, I was privileged to be amongst one of the first group of guests to visit our latest TreadRight heritage sustainability project, the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti weaving workshop in Perugia, Italy.
This is a new, included experience of which guests travelling on Luxury Gold by Insight Vacations’ ‘Ultimate Italy’, or several of Insight’s fantastic Premium Italian tours visiting Perugia can now witness firsthand.
Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the location of the weavers’ workshop is within San Francesco delle Donne, one of the oldest Franciscan churches in Italy and the oldest in Perugia, making for an impressive venue. But beyond the walls, it is the history of the artisan tradition, which captures the attention of our group made up of media from around the globe and Insight Vacations staff including CEO John Boulding.
Giuditta Brozzetti was a pioneering female entrepreneur, establishing her own weaving workshop/school in the early 20th century. Today, this art of hand-weaving textiles on antique wooden looms has been passed down through four generations of the Brozzetti family to current descendant Marta Cucchia, who proudly continues it and explains the history to visitors.
Brozzetti’s story dates to the midst of the First World War, when the housewife turned school director travelled through the surrounding Perugian countryside to oversee rural schools. She became curious about noises coming from many of the farmers’ homes. She discovered the noises were coming from the looms kept by the farmers’ wives, to weave traditional textiles. Inspired, Brozzetti founded a workshop/school dedicated to the production of high quality artistic textiles for the home.
Today, fabrics are woven using the original antique looms and follow the same traditional techniques Giuditta Brozzetti developed, reminiscent of the medieval and renaissance textile traditions from Italy, and particularly from the local Umbria region.
Using the funds provided by the TreadRight Heritage Initiative grants program, Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti is establishing educational tools for spreading the tradition of weaving, and building e-commerce capabilities to increase online sales to provide a stable source of income for the community-based cooperative.
The weaving workshop is one of the latest projects supported by our TreadRight Foundation. Founded in 2008 as a joint initiative between Insight Vacations and each member of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands, TreadRight encourages the sustainable development of tourism by supporting projects that benefit the environment, cultural heritages and local communities.
To date, TreadRight has helped support more than 35 sustainable tourism projects worldwide with new projects now focused around the Heritage or Wildlife pillars which align well with the travel experiences and the destinations we visit through our family of brands.
I’m genuinely proud to work for a company which is truly committed to the people and the places that we visit.
Past TreadRight projects that Insight Vacations has supported include Glasgow University’s Centre for Battlefield Archaeology (CBA). This partnership paved the way for the CBA to study significant WWI sites in France and to investigate the hidden history of Scotland’s Cambuskenneth Abbey. This research has provided valuable information for both locals and visitors.
Insight Vacations has also helped to support sustainable food initiatives working with Whitmuir Organic Farm in Scotland, an integral contributor to the region’s developing local food economy. Whitmuir Farm works to educate and engage the public in sustainable agricultural programs such as community growing plots, citizen science projects and local food events.
Watch TreadRight Ambassador Céline Cousteau travel to Italy’s Umbria region to meet Marta Cucchia at the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti.
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*Gordon Gillan is Insight Vacations’ New Zealand Public Relations Manager