The Cooperativa Nido di Seta was founded in 2014 in San Floro, a town in the province of Catanzaro, which at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries was considered Europe’s silk capital. The entire area was in fact the most important silk production centre in Europe, around which a production circuit was formed that traced a “Calabrian silk route”.
The aim of the young entrepreneurs (Miriam, Giovanna and Domenico) was to exploit the enormous potential of their land by reviving the ancient silkworm industry through a redevelopment project that made it possible to regenerate the 3,000 mulberry trees (which are the silkworm’s staple food) that had been completely abandoned in the municipality of San Floro.
These young people from Calabria, started by being taught the secrets of mulberry cultivation by the last heirs of this tradition, the village elders. They then followed a training course at the Institute of Sericulture in Thailand, learning unconventional methods of silk processing, and finally travelled to Mexico to discover new natural dyes.
An artisan network has formed around Nido di Seta, which extends throughout Calabria and is characterised by particular attention to female entrepreneurship (about eight artisan women from all over the region work together), another important aspect that identifies the history of the cooperative, which produces yarns, fabrics and finished products: fabrics, scarves, foulards, ties, accessories, wedding dresses, jewellery and footwear (all rigorously in silk) are the most valuable products that the company produces.
Textile production is not, however, the only activity promoted by the Nido di Seta, which has been biological certified since 2015 and is also dedicated to the organic cultivation of mulberries (partly because the silkworm is very sensitive to pesticides), thanks to which a wide range of products stand out, such as extra mulberry jams, as well as herbal teas and liqueurs.
It is no coincidence that the Cooperative’s missions include: protection of the environment and landscape, growth of the territory and sustainable development.
This is a genuine model of sustainable and alternative development that integrates natural resources, craftsmanship and cultural tourism, triggering a virtuous circle that daily transforms San Floro into a pole of attraction for national and international tourism.
The idea of creating a network of experiential tourism packages linked to the tradition of silk is implemented by continuous stimulating activities, such as the Silk Academy, a series of weekend-long workshops, divided by theme, which aim to educate new people (very often from various countries around the world) on the various stages of processing, such as silkworm breeding, both in the different stages of spinning and weaving craft, and then natural dyeing. The Nido di seta is currently one of the very few companies in the world to produce an entirely sustainable silk yarn dyed exclusively with natural dyes.
An entrepreneurial reality that puts ethics in all its facets first.
And it is no coincidence that the cooperative was recently chosen as a partner for the creation of some of the clothes staged during the Fashion Award at the Taormina 2021 Film Festival (held this year under the banner of eco-sustainability).
This is a very positive story of local (but at the same time international) entrepreneurship which can inspire the increasing number of young people in Calabria who want to revitalise their homeland by exploiting the skills they have acquired around the world.
Francesco Tirinato – Junior Project Manager (JUMP Team)