It was the autumn of 1943 and Grosseto was anticipating the coming winter with concern. It would be a winter that would sweep the vast countryside with cold winds and white frosts, as it did every year. The Maremma capital had been severely affected by the Great War. It had been recently bombed, and it was mourning the death of many locals. The population was exhausted and beaten down by many years of conflict and poverty, and their sad offspring, misery and hunger.
Evening has already fallen. A man was walking home alone, his collar turned up. He was carrying a sack; inside was a lambskin coat. “Look at this!”, he exclaimed, showing it to his wife and children. “Touch it, Alessandro. Feel how warm it is”. The youngest of the children grabbed it timidly and put it on carefully. It was a very soft jacket and fitted perfectly. He clasped it to his chest with both hands and gave his father a shy look. “It’s so warm, papa. Can I keep it?”
That jacket, made by Nello’s already skilled hands, was the first step in what will become a lifelong adventure. Making garments from animal skins and furs was a great success in harsh and intemperate weather when sheltering from the cold is as vital as eating. So, the first tannery was opened producing, jackets and coats, along with shoes, boots, and stirrup straps.
In 1960, the war was over and Italy was finally experiencing a rebirth. These were the years of the “dolce vita” and, even in the beautiful and sunny Tuscany, the style and elegance of “Made in Italy” became more and more sought after. Women competed to show off in expensive and original furs. Spotted furs were all the rage and the Nello Santi workshop specialised in prestigious, high-quality furs such as leopard, jaguar, ocelot, and lynx. Alessandro, now grown up, had taken over the reins of his father’s company and, in a short time, made it famous throughout Tuscany for its distinctive style and the skill with which he took care of every detail, turning each garment into a unique item of great value and beauty.
We find the same beauty in the landscapes of the Tuscan Maremma, where the Santi family resides and works. The gentle and elegant lines of Santi furs have always been inspired by these authentic landscapes and celebrate the sinuous and verdant hills, the gentle woods, and the white sand dunes that slope gently towards the sea.
It was 1980 when Nello, named after Alessandro’s grandfather and his eldest son, succeeded his father in the management of the company. Now it was his task to apply his passion and determination to take it a little further.
Together with his wife Jadwiga and his sisters Cristina and Anna, Nello opened the company up to overseas markets, making his name famous in the world of international luxury items. It is thanks to him that the United States, Russia, China and Korea are now places where the name Santi is synonymous with quality, reliability, and elegance. Nello is aware of how precious what he has inherited is. He has a deep understanding of his company and wants to tell the world all about it, which is why he always makes sure that his customers can come to Grosseto and visit the workshop that his grandfather created many years ago, in the land where he was born, where everything began.
When the buyers arrive, Nello takes them on a tour around his land. He introduces them to the flavours of the local Tuscan food and wine and lets them explore the local smells and colours. He takes them to places where they can appreciate the still beautiful natural landscape because he is selling not just garments, but a story.
The exchange with his visitors from afar is reciprocal and Nello’s collections are enhanced with new notes, with colours and lines that are well suited to contemporary styles, without ever neglecting the elegant cut of his original designs.
This knowledge, together with dedication and attention to detail, is a precious legacy that is now passing into the hands of his young offspring: Silvia, who is studying fashion at the prestigious Marangoni School in Milan, Elena, who is studying economics at University, and Marco, who is already working with his father in the company. They are Nello’s children, the fourth generation of the Santi family who, exploring new boundaries between tradition and modernity, have the task of keeping alive the emotions that only a true artisan can arouse.
The union between nature and craftsmanship, which the Santi family offers as a dowry to the new generations today more than ever, confronted with the increase in mass production and the use of highly polluting synthetic fabrics, represents a practice of “green elegance”, which must be protected and passed on. Fur has a history as ancient as the world. It has always been part of the natural cycles of human life and, in addition to being an exclusive and unique product, it is eco-sustainable in every phase of its production and causes no pollution.
Producing, buying, and wearing a fur coat is a gesture of love for tradition and nature and, like every gesture of love, it is capable of bringing beauty and pleasure into our lives.
To explore and experience the texture of the range of Nello Santi garments for yourself, or to collaborate with us, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to welcome you to our showroom in Grosseto, in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma.
Via A. Orcagna, 42
58100 Grosseto – Italy
Tel +39 0564 492371