Galeotto was Kant’s ‘The critique of pure reason’, which two high school students studied in the Perugian bar that a then seventeen-year-old Brunello Cucinelli frequented. There was born that love for knowledge that today has led the king of cashmere to announce a new project for his Solomeo: a universal library, modeled on that of Alexandria, which will go to make good company at the theater, in the wood of spirituality. , to the monument to the dignity of man that arise in the Umbrian village he restored.
The project – Cucinelli told today at the Strehler theater in Milan, flanked by the architect and friend Massimo de Vico Fallani – was born during the pandemic, when the question was asked “what can still be done for humanity? after us? “. The mind went to Hadrian, for whom “founding libraries is like building public granaries”, and then to Ptolemy, general of Alexander the Great, who wanted to build the library of Alexandria. “We went for a walk in the village, between busts and plaques, between the school of art and crafts and the theater and from these things – recalled Cucinelli – came a voice that said ‘it’s not over, you have to continue’ and the library it seemed like the ideal way to do it. ” The entrepreneur bought an eighteenth-century villa in the village, whose 2000 square meters will house, at full capacity, from 400 to 500 thousand books. The king of cashmere has already talked to Prime Minister Mario Draghi about the library project, which will open in 2024, with the first 30-35 thousand volumes, which a team is selecting from all over the world: “He told me ‘what a nice idea that he had ‘. So I asked him – he said – to come and inaugurate it and he replied’ I’m coming, I’m coming ‘”.
The library will hold books, rare and ancient but not only, of 5 disciplines: philosophy, architecture, literature, poetry and crafts. “We would like texts to arrive from all over the world and in all languages and if there was an untranslated text – he explained – we would like to do it to give it to those who will come later”.
“We plan at 1000 years”, Cucinelli stressed, because “we must replace fear with hope, no generation except ours has transmitted fear to the next”. He, to his daughters Carolina and Camilla, gave 1000 books each as a wedding gift, and he has already prepared many for his grandchildren. The eldest, Vittoria, 11, wanted to be in Milan today, together with the president of the Umbria region Donatella Tesei and the cardinal of Perugia Gualtiero Bassetti, for the presentation of this project which – explained Cucinelli – even if it is supported by the Foundation, it could not have been born without being listed on the stock exchange.
An operation that, more than 10 years ago, was suggested to him by the entrepreneur Gianluca Vacchi: “You know him for ballets, but I – explained Cucinelli introducing him to the audience of international journalists – took him in the place of an advisor” . And it was Vacchi who underlined the great modernity of this new operation, explaining that the book is still central to human formation even according to a survey by the Washington Post, for which 25% of digital natives prefer to pay for a printed text rather than than reading the same book for free online.
Cucinelli did not want to talk about the economic investment for the library, limiting himself to saying that the initial one was “sufficiently onerous” and emphasizing that we must “return to investing in the great ideals”, those embodied in the books, of which only originals will be proposed, but in current editions, with new introductions.