San Leucio is a hamlet of the municipality of Caserta, whose fame is linked to the manufacture of silk.
This manufacture transformed a hunting residence into an industrial reality that generated principles of economic and social equality.
The silk art in the area of Caserta has a really singular origin. In fact, the local nobles, the Bourbons made available the royal house to work the silk. So, the Monumental Complex of the Belvedere San Leucio in 1178 was transformed into a kind of community with many houses and schools, with a specific Code of Laws that ratified the autonomy of the little hamlet. Therefore, the Bourbons not only gave up a private residence of pure pomp, but they regulated the equality and even the parity of salary between men and women.
The ancient silk factory represented the heart of San Leucio.
The raw material was generated by silkworms bred in the area of Caserta. With a complex system of spinners and lathes, it passed from the simple reels to the creation of real fabrics. The name of the colors, particularly refined, tried to catch the most subtle shades of the fabric. Among the others, for example, there were the willow green, the Peruvian walnut, the ground dove, the smoke of London and the Prussian blue.
Silk of Caserta
The request of silk artifacts was really conspicuous. The entire world wanted these unique pieces. Curtains, tapestries and brocades able to make elegant any house. In buildings as the Royal Palace of Caserta, the rooms of the Vatican, the Quirinal, the Oval Office of the White House and the flags of Buckingham Palace, still today we find the fabrics.
In San Leucio, it is possible to visit the laboratory that was the cornerstone of the industrial life, in the Palace Belvedere where the Museum of the silk rises.
The Museum goes back over the phases of the silk success of San Leucio. In exhibition, ancient machineries, looms, artifacts, twisting machines. Then, worthy to be visited the royal apartments with frescoed rooms, the gardens of the Belvedere and the house of the Weaver, valid example of laborers’ houses.