The Heritage Initiative

Heritage activities are vital to local economies. In fact, behind agriculture, artisan activity is the second largest employer in the developing world, with millions of individuals dependent on this work. In many developing regions the heritage sector helps to create jobs, champion economic development, and build connections to the global marketplace that empower the disenfranchised.

The TreadRight Heritage Initiative lends its support to the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. Together, TreadRight and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise will support cultural traditions that preserve the unique richness and diversity of people and place in Europe and South America through a small grants program for artisan enterprises.


Giuditta Brozzetti Workshop – Umbria

In the midst of the First World War, a housewife turned elementary school director traveled by horse-drawn carriage through the Italian countryside surrounding the city of Perugia to oversee each of the small rural schools. As she traveled, Giuditta Brozzetti became curious about the noises coming from many of the farmers’ homes. Entering the homes, she discovered the noise was coming from the looms kept by the farmers’ wives, which they used to weave traditional textiles.  Fascinated and inspired by the textiles, Brozzetti became a central entrepreneurial figure in the region, a considerable rarity for a woman in the early 20th century. In 1921, Brozzetti founded a workshop/school dedicated to the production of high quality artistic textiles for the home.

Since that time, the passion for the art of hand-weaving textiles on antique wooden looms have been passed down through the generations of the Brozzetti family, from mother to daughter, with each generation personalizing the production according to her own inspiration.

Four generations later, the Giuditta Brozzetti Cooperative is one of the few remaining traditional frame hand weaving workshops in Italy. Today, the hand-weaving workshop is located inside the charming Church of San Francesco delle Donne in the medieval city of Perugia. The fabrics are woven using the original antique looms and following the same traditional techniques Giuditta Brozzetti helped to ensure were carried on nearly a century ago. The patterns they produce are reminiscent of great medieval and renaissance textile traditions in Italy, and particularly in the Umbria region.

Because of its unique characteristics, cultural and historical significance, the Giuditta Brozzetti Cooperative was honored with inclusion in the regional museum’s network by the Umbrian Regional Government. All of the textiles are woven from cotton, linen, silk and synthetic gold thread purchased from Italian dealers.

Using the funds provided by the TreadRight Heritage Initiative grants program, the Giuditta Brozzetti Cooperative established educational tools for spreading the tradition of weaving, and also built e-commerce capabilities to enable increased online sales, providing a stable source of income for the community-based cooperative.

Visit the Giuditta Brozzetti Workshop on many of our Guided Vacations to Italy and experience this amazing workshop firsthand.

Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, Peru

Officially established in 1996, the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (CTTC) employs more than 500 individuals from the Cusco, Peru region. Encouraging the continuation of the 10,000-year-old Andean textile tradition, and to provide support to those working in this heritage industry, the CTTC began as a collective group of weavers in the 1980s. The CTTC aims to maintain this long standing Peruvian tradition of weaving in the face of changing times.

For some time, the younger generation of Peruvians have been shifting away from traditional weaving. Due in large part to globalization, the town of Chinchero has undergone a number of drastic changes in recent years and many of the traditional ways of life were being lost with each new generation. Knowledge and practice of cultural touchstones such as language, land management traditions and ritual practices have been severely affected by the progress of time and disconnection with traditional culture.

This prompted CTTC founder Nilda Callanaupa to take proactive steps in order to maintain her cultural heritage while also providing employment to people in her region. Nilda’s dream is to reinvigorate her community through the traditional weaving organization with the income generated for community members to be used for education, to improve housing and to provide medical care.

The CTTC is working to revive the traditional Andean textile practices, reintroduce ancient techniques while also instilling a sense of pride in the community. Funding from the TreadRight Heritage Initiative grant is being used to finish the construction of a traditional weaver’s home at the Chinchero Weaver’s Centre, which will then open its doors to locals and visitors alike in order to provide education about the traditional weaving techniques and promote the sale of the textiles.

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