The importance that a well preserved historical archive may have for a territory is simply incalculable. The historical memory of a place often coincides with an archive that conserves shelf-loads of documents, written testimonies to what has gone before, a warning and a lesson to the protagonists of the present.
One such historical archive is that of Ermenegildo Zegna Group, rooted in the Biella area and a promoter of many initiatives for the good of the territory, such as the establishment and development of Oasi Zegna, as well as being a shining example of Italian manufacturing excellence, style and creativity in the eyes of the world.
On Heritage Day (17 November), the archives will be open for guided visits to the collection of fabric samples begun in 1910 by Ermenegildo Zegna and documentation covering a hundred years of history. This archive facility is at Casa Zegna, under the painstaking management of Danilo Craveia.
“I never met Ermenegildo Zegna, but I’ve certainly formed an idea of him,” explained Craveia in an interview for the Eco di Biella. “I’ve been able to personally catalog and re-organize thousands of documents and photographs concerning him.” Craveia speaks of him as a man “always elegant, but always serious: you can count the images portraying him with a smile on the fingers of one hand (…) an open mind, curious and reflective, but capable of audacity, of transforming his roots into wings”.
On reading his writings, notes and letters, Craveia was aware that “his words always referred to work, but also to the life of a town and a country that was experiencing the Great War, then fascism, another war, the Resistance, the economic boom”. At this point, the circumstances of one man and his business merge with those of a territory and influence its development, positively, binding the destinies of a hard-working, tenacious people, custodians of nature’s infinite beauty, to his own.