San Patrignano, is the largest residential treatment center in Europe, and it is home to over 1,300 young men and women who are recovering from drug addiction and social exclusion through projects including high level professional vocation training.
One of the important fields in which they learn skills is viticulture and wine making, leading the Community to produce more than 600,000 bottles of premium wine annually. The wine is aged in French oak casks, which are used for a maximum of three harvests – after which they are usually destroyed.
A new design project by San Patrignano – New life for wooden barrels – The Third Age of Wood was launched at the Salone 2012
The “Barrique recycling project” draws on an impressive list of “30 x world renowned designers” who created unique pieces using recycled French oak casks from the Community’s winery.
All 30 pieces were built by the 200 young men of San Patrignano’s woodworking and wrought iron workshops, with wood recycled from their winery’s oak casks.
Head of the carpentry shop, Marco Stefanini, explains, “It was great to see the young people here create these works of art alongside world famous designers. It is a great feeling to see them get excited about their work and gain confidence in their abilities.”
Through ancient trades, young people find a new life and used wood is recycled into a work of art. Just as the barriques are given a new chance at life, so too are the young men working in the design and carpentry projects at San Patrignano, who are (re)building their professional calling and life in the Community.
“It is truly wonderful to see once discarded casks be given a new chance. The fact that thirty artists have created unique pieces out of San Patrignano’s oak barrels writes a new chapter in history, truly a monument not only to art and beauty, but sustainability as well. These objects are not only appealing to the eye, but also educational.” …. Lamberto Vallarino Gancia, President of Federvini.
Thanks to receiving a prime location at the Salone ( thanks to the support of Cosmit ) .. “We are sure that this project will be a great success”
“We would like to remind everyone that, through the humble and noble work of a carpenter, it is possible to rediscover important values, those that are necessary for us in life and permit us to overcome adversity.”
The participants in the “Barrique Project”, who had their pieces exhibited at the Salone del Mobile 2012:
Riccardo Arbizzoni, Claudio Bellini, Mario Botta, Giuliano Cappelletti, Luisa Castiglioni, Pierluigi Cerri, Aldo Cibic, Antonio Citterio, Carlo Colombo, Valerio Cometti, Michele De Lucchi, Terry Dwan, Erasmo Figini, Elio Fiorucci, Giuseppe Leida, Gualtiero Marchesi, Alberto Meda, Alessandro Mendini, Angela Missoni, Paolo Nava, Franco and Matteo Origoni, Alessandro Pedron, Paolo Pininfarina, Karim Rashid, Maurizio and Davide Riva, Alejandro Ruiz, Marc Sadler, Luca Scacchetti, Aldo Spinelli, Matteo Thun, San Patrignano
The project catalog was created in partnership with Origoni – Steiner
Casks, precious custodians in the life of wine, after their first life as a tree, have the poetic task of preserving and ageing their important contents. It is thanks to them that wine becomes enriched with various aromas and unusual flavours. In short, a real work of art is born. At the conclusion of their important labour, many are sadly often left to an end not befitting the painstaking work that they accomplished, being used as pulp.
The discernment, ingenuity and unity of people who love wood have now ensured that, from now on, these “botti” (from the Latin buttis) will experience a well-deserved deliverance in all of our daily lives.
Thanks to their poetic life, the casks have attracted the attention and curiosity of the world’s most established architects, who have got down to work conceiving designer furniture.
The history is short-lived, from tree to cask, from cask to furniture. At the same time, entire pages would nevertheless be needed due to the simple fact that not only the cask will have a second life, but also the people who created these furnishings with the same dedication with which the casks hugged the wine within them.
They, too, will design a new life, a highly important personal change that is ethical as well as professional… We’re talking about the young residents of San Patrignano.
Praise and thanks not only go to the young men and women who work in the joinery department, but to all those who plant new vines, those who lovingly tend to these trees for months before they bear fruit, those who have the expert knowledge and choose the bunches of grapes and all the young people who work in the various departments every day to overcome their problems.
By way of this project, the cask, wine’s best friend, will now be the future star of furnishings, providing a wake-up call to those who experience that taste of wine they tasted years before from the very furniture within their own four walls.
I’d like to finish by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to everyone in the whole San Patrignano Community for having allowed me to work with them.
Le botti e il vino… il vino e il legno …… Davide Riva
The 31 projects
Riccardo Arbizzoni – Tommy
We give stronger wings to those who are starting to fly again. San Patrignano: a bridge to unite, a wing to fly, a bench to communicate
Riccardo Arbizzoni with the help of Tommaso Berna (7 years to continue flying higher and higher…)
Claudio Bellini – Dogadoga
Accustomed to working together humbly to contain, sustain, protect, hold and carry, the wooden staves, an elementary part made in a high-quality and living material, have made an important contribution to humankind from time immemorial. Even now, untiring, our staves of French oak, extricated from their original function, are together for a new adventure.
Mario Botta – Botta
The elements recovered from the concave casks are used as a seat or surface for a bookcase. The vertical parts are joined at the top so as to guarantee the overlay of the individual modules. The strength of this system clearly lies in the multiplicity of elements, which, as they are repeated over several overlapped levels, can redesign.
Giuliano Cappelletti – Steve table
From Maurizio and Davide Riva’s idea to reuse the oak of the San Patrignano casks here comes STAVE TABLE.
The wood of the barriques, seasoned over time and browned by the wine contained in the casks, isn’t destroyed after just 3 vintages, but lives on thanks to this project that focuses on recycling and environmental sustainability. STAVE TABLE stems from the idea of respecting the original form of the cask, but with a new way of binding together the staves instead of using a string to eliminate any cracks, as was done for millennia (the origin of this is unknown).
Instead, we assembled the single staves simply by turning the profile, almost as if to show to the user what is contained inside, the interior of the barrique: the wine, which leaves visible signs on the barrique as it ages inside the casks. The planks, fixed to a metal structure, thereby leave a space between one stave and the next, ensuring that light passes through the structure, creating a cadenced chiaroscuro effect, making the final outcome light and intriguing.
The barriques of the casks and the metal of the structure that supports them, combined with a transparent glass surface, emphasize the effect created by the staves and respect the natural, recyclable character of the materials used, without giving in to the excesses of design.
A simple, recognisable style aimed at environmental sustainability, yet not lacking in emotive faculties and what lies at the basis of STAVE TABLE.
Luisa Castiglioni e Maddalena Scarzella – Abbraccio
Like in an embrace four staves of a cask unite in couples forming two crosses. The natural curvature of the stave allows two supports to be created through the cross-shaped union. The concavity facing the floor becomes the foot; facing upwards it becomes the support for a glass surface that is 120 cm in diameter. Four knurled tubes unite the two pairs defining the height of the table. The clear glass surface lets you see the stave with its indistinguishable traits in terms of the shape and the reddish colour left by the wine.
Pierluigi Cerri – Vassoio
I find the inclination to recover manufactured articles and put them to other uses commendable. The project consists in dismissing the original function in favour of a new one. This project includes all the other “Barrique” projects. Barriques are small French oak casks used to age and aromatize fine wines with care. Once they have exhausted their role, they lend themselves to new interpretations.
Illustrious and unique precedents recommend that overly ambitious goals be set aside, such as the attempt by Diogenes the Cynic to instil alternative life models. It is better to set off along the way of shapes that may already be interpreted in the sophisticated and barely perceptible curvature of the barrique, carving out a portion to create a tray of restrained expressive ambition, yet which nevertheless regains its purpose in the ability to communicate its provenance.
Aldo Cibic – Chinese roof
A designer’s work, I have to say, is a fun one; one day, a friend (in this case) sends you an old stick of curved wood and asks you to make it into something interesting. It’s not any old piece of wood, but one that possesses a history with various implications: I’d like to point out that the raw material already has a soul of its own.
What happens next is that you look at it and hope that an idea comes to you, which sparks a dignified reincarnation. To get a piece of curved wood, a type of workmanship is usually needed that involves investment, meaning that you can only make a piece if reproduced in a large number. In this case, the wood was already curved and it was in search of a new destiny. Those sticks of wood became an anatomically agreeable double bench, which, with the slant that I gave to the seats, made them resemble a Chinese house.
After all, what I like is that it became an original and delicate piece of urban furniture in my eyes.
Antonio Citterio – Barrique
The small armchair is made from reusing the extraordinary seasoned oak wood of the casks, making the most of its intrinsic properties without overly emphasizing its previous use. The staves, suitably treated to remove any traces of tannin, are assembled on the wooden structure of the seat using elements (also in wood), which resemble the bung of the casks. The result is a comfortable seat in polished oak that recalls the former life of the prized material in a detached and unromantic way.
Carlo Colombo – Wine Table
I began with the history and emergence of the barrique. Thanks to the bending of the wood, ancient civilizations could quickly replace the old methods of preserving and transporting foodstuffs because barrels were so shockproof and easy to transport that they became the only evaluation system of a ship’s load. This keystone of the economy and old transportation inspired me to create this structure, which, like a backbone stemming from the reuse of the barrique, sustains and lends stability to the supporting surface. Moreover, this binding of curved elements held together by a straightforward joint and two boards recalls the magnificent old ships, which sailed and ruled the water in centuries past.
Valerio Cometti – Horn
In designing these objects, I was inspired by the respect with which San Patrignano rebuilds the souls of those people who have temporarily mislaid their self-love. Much more humbly, yet observing this metaphor, I took the staves that I came across and by doing as little as possible, just respecting their shape and character, I gave them a new existence.
Always intending to pay homage to the work of the Community, I wanted to create light-filled objects, lamps, metaphors of a new beginning and a renewed ability to design energy and hope, just like the individuals who know how to illuminate their way as well as that of those close to them upon leaving San Patrignano. Silently observing a stave, I realised that most of the work involved in creating the shape had already been done: doubly curved surfaces, variable profiles with a wonderful tension and elongated proportions.
I just had to restrict myself to removing a bit of wood and the job would be done. I’m not a fan of decoration; it always strikes me as an afterthought, a false addition to bolster up a weak project. But, in this instance, I found the mark of time and of wine profoundly imprinted on the inside of the stave and I made this the distinctive element of the beauty of “Horn”. As I am a real believer in the value of cohesion, as a man and as a designer, I turned to low-consumption LED sources, which are in perfect cohesion with the sensitive and precise nature regarding resources that underpins the entire project.
Michele De Lucchi – Doga
The allure of the barrique wood brings all the emotion of wine, the expanses of vineyards, the colours of the harvest, and the perfume of the cellar where the wine is aged. The oak casks have been saved, dismantled to retrieve every stave and used as the stripped material to create new furniture.
The Stave Table makes the most of the curvature of the casks in the four legs, which are slightly concave compared with the tabletop, giving them a nice sober shape, and in the tabletop, made from the combination of several curved staves. The stave is treated like a basic unit of materia, as a module that, repeated, linked in a straightforward joint and supported by the metal structure, also contributes a material worth to the object: the beauty of the wood, perfumed by the wine.
The young residents of San Patrignano were the ones who made it in their joinery workshops.
Terry Dwan – Catch me
Reused material, eco-friendly manufacturing techniques and interior and insightful design are the constraints that guided my choices for this project. I attempted to re-design the form and function of the barrique, which explains why the distinctive shape of the plank made me rethink the form yet with a new liquid content. I wished to create an object whereby the exterior and interior of the stave, nevertheless always hidden from sight, were clear, where the distinctive blood red colour is predominant and indicative of the life of the wood and the wine.
The iron cup at the bottom contains, envelops and sustains the planks, becoming a supporting structure and container at the same time, all of which is held together by the ring at the top according to the same principle applied to the creation of the casks themselves. I find the workshop/school concept that is encouraged at San Patrignano interesting.
Generally speaking, this Community’s on-going work is excellent in rebuilding a new lifestyle. The vision of the future is limited by the same constraints that affect the process of life, namely uncertainty. I, myself, began my life in a direction with preconceived ideas about where I would end up and, on the contrary, it looks like a zig-zagging path. The same process of life can also be seen in the designer’s work.
I am fascinated by the – sometimes circular – progression that we unconsciously follow.
Erasmo Figini – Michele
I’ve always loved salvaging and transforming things. I’ve worked with barriques in other projects in the past and Riva’s proposal struck me as an extremely interesting occasion to develop a different use of these woods.
The idea of a chaise longue came from the invitation provided by the various elements that make up the barrique: the curvature of the staves, the naturalness of the wood and the sturdiness of the metal that secures the staves. An essential and clean form that, through a neat sequence of fullness and emptiness, reveals a sinuous yet energetic structure with a strong expressive force. The suggested design is the resting body. The saddled base is linked to the traditional storage layout of the barriques in the cellar, just like the joints of the crossbars, which reflect the old fixing techniques between the supporting elements.
Utmost simplicity is upheld in the finish, which retains all the nuances of the wood impregnated with wine sediments.
Elio Fiorucci – Hick
The Hick pocket emptying console stemps from the combination of three barrique staves, assembled to create a y-shaped table.
This shape is suggested by the plastic tension of the curvature of the staves. A cylinder in the middle, consisting of the barrique bung, acts as the fulcrum/hinge of the y-shape and determines the opening width. The horizontal stave, as well as creating the shelf that finishes the static thrust, becomes the support of a thin surface in opaque and coloured acid-etched glass. At the centre of the horizontal stave, there’s point- contact led light that illuminates the coloured glass from below.
The Hick console is fixed to the wall using two walll plugs hidden on the back, so that it looks as if it is supported by a single fulcrum.
Elio Fiorucci – Look
The form of the Look lamp stems from the simple mirror-like superposition of two barrique staves.
The curvature of the two staves, fixed opposite to one another and symmetrically, makes them resemble an elongated, almost oriental eye. An led light is accommodated in the lower stave, which already boasts a hole in the barrique. The two screen/diffusers are made using two music cds, which, as well as screening the direct light, diffuse a warm and iridescent light in the surroundings. The two music cds are in fact exactly the same measurement of the position of the iris in the middle of the staves / eyelids.The middle hole of the cds is the pupil. The look lamp can be placed on a table or wall mounted.
Giuseppe Leida – Tino cavallino
The design of “Tino cavallino” was inspired by carefree childhood life, cradled by play and upbringing; a stylized horse for a child of two or three years of age, easy to produce and made using reused elements such as the staves of the barriques. The arched shape of the oak staves and their colour reddened by the wine in the concave side themselves contain the very essence of movement and life.Tino will be a friend to some lucky children and the pride of adults who know that, while making it they will recover themselves, as well as the casks.
Being at SanPa is like being reborn, growing up, getting to know oneself and becoming playful again.
Gualtiero Marchesi – La porta della cantina
It was a pleasure to take part in the idea thought up by San Patrignano, aiming to reuse the old high-quality wood no longer in operation, set aside to rest after having meticulously performed the task entrusted to it for so long.
The structure of the handmade casks is in itself a lovely artistic masterpiece tied to the cult of land and wine. The ensemble of its staves is the work of an expert, intelligent craftsman, which lives on thanks to the knowledge of a tradition that has been handed down, unchanged, over time. What destiny awaits these very old, high-quality staves? The wine used them in order to mature, so why not try to give them a new life in an environment romantically linked to wine?
If they were in contact with wine in their “golden” age, why not use them to get into the place where wine ages?
Let’s put them back together again, in a different order. Let’s make them become the cellar door to access the basement and meet their old friend once more.
Alberto Meda – Cinquedoghe
I immediately came up with the idea of a swing because one can easily create a solid yet comfortable structure with the staves, which are curved due to having been parts of a cask. This free-moving seat gives a thrill, a feeling of euphoria, joy, sometimes even dizziness, because of its dynamism, all of these sensations resemble those experienced with one or two glasses of fine wine. A new life for the staves, but still as “containers”… of pleasure.
Alessandro Mendini – Goffo, Ruvido
The Utopia of San Patrignano also envisages this project. The on-site carpenter’s workshop that recycles the casks from the on-site cellar. The energy of a regenerative action. So here’s the cask: this perfect container tool, consisting of extremely precise parts and pieces. It is dismantled during recycling, then consideration is given to how to reassemble it and allocating it with a new existence. Here are various ideas including a small table and a chair. Two curious objects, bordering on gauche, rustic and amusing.
Angela Missoni – Miss Dondola
I joined the San Patrignano Project immediately. In addition to my involvement with Riva, with whom I had already worked on the Briccole Project in Venice, then as now, the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the wooden staves of the casks was to “engineer” the object itself, using it in its essence, not transforming it into something other than itself. I like mobile things and the idea of using them just as they are. I therefore came up with the idea of threading multicoloured strings joined by big knots between one piece of wood and the other to keep them together and maintain their alignment. The immediacy of use is what pushed me most in this direction.
Paolo Nava – Wave Air
It was a very unusual design experience. In the beginning I looked at the wooden stave as if it were a mass manufactured product, which could be transformed into identified products such as seats, containers, trays, lamps, table bases, etc. But as the days past by, I had the feeling that instead of making progress, I was at the starting point or even further back than that. After deep reflection, I was persuaded that the stave as it had been conceived (and how it had evolved over time) itself contained all the energy and perfection accumulated over the centuries as an extraordinary product of human genius.
I therefore decided that I merely had to make use of it in its entirety, render it dynamic, free it from the perfection of its original function only by using fixing and rotation points in order to generate movements capable of satisfying the endless curiosity of everything that is dynamic like creative thinking.
I admit that I had fun, something I hadn’t had for a while. I hope that others using the structures that I conceived may make these concepts last over time.
Matteo e Franco Origoni – Etta
Recycling the wood of wine casks, which have become unusable, to create items of everyday use is not a straightforward project. The barrique is actually made from a set of curved staves, a product of the work of skilled artisans: the master “bottai” [coopers]. It’s therefore not a matter of recycling waste wood, but of reusing a finished product, as if it were a prefab, without radically changing it. So the staves bend, like the legs of a grasshopper, maintaining their original geometry, thereby becoming structural elements of a set of objects… legs and support, in this case, of a chair.
Alessandro Pedron – aVI
The curvature and section of the staves are given, ready and researched for the exact dimension of the casks, which is a product of the years of history of this container. The chair is also an object of use, the most natural, the one that is most familiar to us. Avi was created by observing the profile of the stave, which, with minimal workmanship, forms the structure, the body of the chair, ready to offload gently to the ground the weight that it must bear.
Small sections of staves flanking one another horizontally unite the lateral curvilinear parts with straightforward joints made from the same elements. The oak wood worked over time and by its primary function offers its two antithetical souls of “inside and outside”, which become “above and below” or “in front of and behind” in the chair. A thin layer of protective wax preserves and ennobles the surface. The wood of aVi worked by industrious and eager hands is ready for its new life… But only the wood?
Paolo Pininfarina – Single Lamp
Pininfarina takes part in The Rebirth of the Casks at San Patrignano charity project, for which Riva 1920 invited more than 30 international architects and designers to plan, without being bound to a theme, an object using the wood recovered from the Community’s casks.
Designer Pininfarina’s goal was to preserve the origin of this wood, which bears the marks of three vintages, thereby also satisfying the look of an exclusive object, made from a unique material. Leaving unchanged the arc that distinguishes the side of the cask, Pininfarina inserted some cutting-edge technology into the wood of the aged barrique: LED lighting.
The wood of the casks, otherwise destined to ruin, therefore takes on a new life by becoming an object of design in line with the philosophy of San Patrignano, where the young residents have an experience that helps them to head in a new direction.
Karim Rashid – Inverso
Wanting to make the most out of the San Patrignano barrel form with no waste and take advantage of the beautiful deep-aged wine stain on the inside of the wood, I turned the wood around to create an obvious stool and table. We see an object differently when its inside out. Normally a wine barrel is a bulbous object, but rotate the curve and it’s a slender, sensuous waist, and a completely new object expressing the spent wine.
Maurizio e Davide Riva – Tavolo Mattia
Made using the oak of casks and barriques, sitting around it you breathe in the wine that it looked after up until now. “Mattia”, the name of my little grandson, who grows strong and good every day like the vines and their precious fruit.
Alejandro Ruiz – Trojan
Astute, curious and hopeful!
A toy made from wood already used for other purposes: is it a stratagem with which to distract the defences? A victory in which strength is inferior to ideas.
Marc Sadler – DOC
The revival of the wood of the San Patrignano barriques was inspired by a wish to leave unaltered that feeling of a life well lived and strength for which they were created.
The DOC chaise longue, which I designed using the oak staves, makes the effect of a vertebral column visible, where precise male-female joints lock each component together in a sinuous ensemble.
Thanks to a fine piece of joinery, the multiples in any same section of staves form an elegant and ergonomic design, which also embraces the roughness of the history of the oak with which it is made.
The sigh of the wine that this wood entertained for years makes its presence felt by the rough appearance, which has deliberately been left as it is, and by the uneven yet spectacular colour that the material has gained over time.
San Patrignano – Culla Letizia
Custodians of life anyway. As the cask ages wine, the cradle raises a child for life. The first comfortable dwelling, affording shelter and protection, it is a place of origin.
The perfect symbol for San Patrignano too, a place of rebirth in itself. This is the reason why the community thought of a cradle. The curved yet resistant wood of the cask is perfect for a solid structure, which must be capable of ensuring calm and peaceful sleep for a newborn. A sleep that is also soft thanks to the sac, which acts as a bed, made in a hand-woven fabric with linen and cotton. An old-fashioned lullaby that stems from the staves of a barrique, which is born again, becoming a cradle for a life of even greater importance.
Its lines are simple, soft and gentle, aiming to recall the purity of the world’s oldest miracle that is repeated every day. A cradle that will provide actual support to new lives, given that San Patrignano chose to allocate part of the proceeds from the sale of each cradle to a distance adoption programme promoted by Avsi.
The cradle will be available in two versions, one with a cream coloured sac and one with a sac decorated with musical notes, the symbol of Mimisol di Imelde Bronzieri, the company that supported this project.
Luca Scacchetti – Panca San Patrignano
The bench obtained from a set of planks from casks, laid alongside one another in parallel to form each individual seat, can be extended from one to two, three, four or five seats. The more the bench is extended, the more that abstract gesture, cryptographic nature and, at the same time, infantile depiction of a stylized wave is reaffirmed as well as the idea of an industrial cover, a set of upside-down and repeated little arches or those stylized oriental clouds that can be seen in all Chinese painting.
It is a reuse or recycling that generates a different figure, for a different use, but that figure derived from the structural elements of the initial cask becomes so strong and absolute that it is now what apparently generates the forms with which the casks are made.
Like those strange toys, the Transformers that mutate from cars to warriors to monsters by rotating their pieces, their structural elements changing shape and nature, in this way, the bench and the casks appear as two ways of sharing the same elements, yet without apparent provenance, without one originating or descending from the other.
Aldo Spinelli – Sardinia
It is a real source of human and professional enrichment to have introduced Marco Stefanini from the San Patrignano community to brothers Maurizio and Davide from Riva 1920 in Cantù: from mere knowledge to involvement in a project that brings imagination and skill into play.
I am truly very happy to have designed this unusual object with the help of the Poliform Research Centre: the staves are retrieved and recycled from the oak casks, which contained the Community’s fine wine for a long time, taking on new forms and becoming a garden seat. The contrast between the stainless steel supporting structure and the oak wood with its natural colour on the outside and that purplish ruby colour on the inside: here is a seat with a modern design that is also permeated with bygone flavours.
It is not only a project, it is the umpteenth demonstration of the social and human value of the joinery experience in the SanPa Community.
For me it fuels my encouragement for continual growth, respecting the environment and our values.
Matteo Thun – Paravento Pliè
The staves of a cask break free from the metal rings that hold them fast together to preserve wine: wooden segments that hover over the sheet compose new shapes and become something else.
Through simple details, hinges, spacers and pivots, the staves form new linear profiles.
And the cask is reborn: a folding screen that – thanks to the concave and convex effect – can take on various shapes and new uses.
Thank you, San Patrignano!
“A tavola” (“Dinner’s on the table”)
During the Salone del Mobile 2012, San Patrignano launched the inaugural Young people’s design contest, focusing on the theme “At the Table” and using the wood from barriques.
A jury will be formed and the winners will be selected in April 2013 at an exhibit dedicated to the project
Participants will have to design an item of furniture connected with the table using and making the most of the wood of the barriques, 225/228-litre casks.
Other materials can also be used to complement the item (e.g. iron, glass, and other types of wood).
The following two participation classes are provided for:
Class 1: Under 26 (26th year of age not yet reached on 05.01.2013)
Class 2: Over 26 (26th year of age already reached on 05.01.2013)
The designs must be uploaded online no later than 05.01.2013
History of San Patrignano
On the side of Life for 34+ years
In 1978, Vincenzo Muccioli, along with a group of friends who wanted to take concrete action to combat marginalization and drug addiction, welcomed the first group of young people into a house his family owned in the hills above Rimini.
This was a pioneering experiment, undertaken to fight a tragic phenomenon that was clearly visible in every piazza of Italy, but which had met with no structured response from the government.
In its early years, the Community had to struggle to keep up with constant pleas for help from desperate families.
Muccioli believed strongly in freedom from drug use and was prepared to make a commitment to making it happen. Kidnapping charges were brought against him, along with other volunteers, for having chained up several residents at their own request, to keep them from leaving the Community and going back to drugs.
The “chains trial” came to a close in the mid-1980s with a full acquittal, including in the Court of Cassation, due in part to the mobilization of civil society.
By 1982, San Patrignano was home to approximately 200 people, mostly housed in trailers. Around the central core of the farmhouse the first workshops, livestock areas, and gardens sprang up, to give everyone the chance to channel their skills and find strength and motivation in daily work.
San Patrignano, in the meantime, gained official recognition from the Italian government as a foundation and charity, to which Vincenzo and his family donated all their real estate. The Community opened separate locations in Novafeltria and Trento.
In 1992, it had a total of approximately 2000 residents.
San Patrignano expanded and improved its facilities: bedrooms and outbuildings were built, as well as a vast new dining hall and equestrian centre.
Construction also began on a multipurpose–medical centre to combat AIDS, which had begun to reap victims from among the young residents.
In 1990, Muccioli contributed to the drafting of the Iervolino-Vassalli bill, which reiterated the illegal nature of drug use.
But in March 1993, after accusations by a former resident regarding a crime committed at San Patrignano in 1988, the Community found itself back in the spotlight and Muccioli was charged with complicity to commit murder.
Investigations found that this crime had been carried out years earlier by a small group of residents whose activities those in charge had been unaware of – an insular, self-contained little band carrying out acts of tyranny and violence.
At the trial in 1994 Muccioli was acquitted of the manslaughter charge and sentenced to eight months for aiding and abetting the crime, for having failed to report the perpetrators in order not to break the confidential agreement he had with them.
The Court emphasized the high human and social value of his work.
However, on 19 September 1995, deeply embittered and exhausted by controversies and accusations, Vincenzo died.
The continued life of the Community, which had been called into question by many politicians and commentators, was ensured by his son Andrea, who took up his father’s difficult legacy together with staff members and volunteers already working there permanently.
In 1996 the first “Vincenzo Muccioli Challenge” international show jumping competition was held, with the world’s top riders taking part. The following year, the Community received certification as a non-governmental organization (NGO) and the status of Special Consultant to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
In 2002 and 2004, along with other major volunteer organizations and private social institutions, San Patrignano organized and managed the national drug abuse prevention campaigns for the Prime Minister’s office.
There was an increase in the number of new residents who had never taken drugs intravenously, but in other ways, and the Community had to fine tune its model of integration and recovery. The positive results achieved were demonstrated by numerous independent studies, which found the rate of full recovery after the educational program to be 73 percent.
In 2004 the Community conceived and held the first “Squisito!” food and wine show, dedicated to showcasing excellence in the field of food and hospitality, an event that was to be repeated every year. Moreover, it hosted events and conferences for important organizations incivil society.
Every year, thousands of students and professionals from Italy and around the world come to learn more about San Patrignano, which has also increased its contact with the internet through websites presenting its institutional initiatives and prevention projects. In 2005, the first European show jumping championship was held at the equestrian centre, with the active participation of all the Community residents.
The following year, the Schwab Foundation, organiser of the Davos World Economic Forum, awarded Andrea Muccioli the title “Social Entrepreneur of the Year”.
2006 marked the start of the 2You project, conceived by San Patrignano and implemented in 20 cities around Italy. The goal of these centers, which are managed in partnership with five major associations, is to contribute to the education of school-aged young people, while fighting social problems and the dropout phenomenon.
San Patrignano’s prevention work also includes the presentation, in twelve Italian regions, of theatrical performances based on peer-to-peer education. These shows, organized in agreement with schools, have been seen by tens of thousands of students.
From 2007 to 2008, thousands of students and Italian and international professionals visited the community, which expanded its Internet contacts with websites providing information about its institutional activities and prevention projects.
Since ’78, the community has welcomed over 20,000 young people, 70% of whom have been fully reintegrated into society.
Starting in October 2009, San Patrignano’s education activities will become “WeFree”.
This new name better conveys the true meaning of “our brand” of prevention: helping kids grow up conscious of their responsibilities with respect for themselves and others, avoiding all forms of addiction.
Mission and guiding values.
1) Providing a heartfelt welcome and recovery to socially marginalized individuals and drug addicts without any social, political or religious discrimination whatsoever.
2) Offering the service completely free of charge to those taken in and their families, without any form of government subsidy.
3) Freeing residents from any type of addiction and/or social exclusion through individual recovery programs, based on values such as dignity, honesty, responsibility and respect for oneself and for others.
4) Using professional training programs as a tool to enable the complete re-integration into society of Community residents.
5) Carrying out drug prevention initiatives aimed at young people adopting a ‘peer education’ approach through real-life stories and video and web tools.
6) Raising funds through its own production and manufacturing activities, as well as public and private funding, in order to fulfill its mission.
About San Patrignano Community
San Patrignano, the largest – and widely considered one of the finest – drug rehabilitation centres in the world, located just outside Rimini in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.
The idea is simple: Teach young people dealing with addiction how to work hard, be responsible, and take pride in producing something of the highest rank, and you help build their self-esteem.
San Patrignano founder Vincenzo Muccioli believed that with that kind of positive work ethic, these ragazzi, as they are known, stand a good chance of integrating into society.
In 1978, Mr. Muccioli and 20 volunteers started to build San Patrignano’s community on 250 inherited hectares. Today, members are fed, housed and provided with legal, medical and psychological attention. They can even complete a university degree.
During their three- to four-year stay, members of the 1,800-strong community don’t just make wine: The ragazzi choose from about 50 trades, from horse training to graphic design, taught by industry experts, most of whom volunteer their time.
And every year, those who graduate contribute to San Patrignano’s astounding statistics: Of the guests who spend at least three years at the facility, 71 per cent find a job for which they utilize their new skills, and only 8 per cent suffer an addiction relapse. So far, a staggering 20,000 people have graduated
San Patrignano is able to generate €13-million (almost $20-million) annually, roughly half of its operating costs, by selling its homemade wares. The other half is obtained through donations.
San Patrignano welcomes all young men and women who have serious drug abuse problems, regardless of ideology, social background, or religion, and completely free of charge, accepting no payment or funding from their families or the government. Admission and the entire recovery program are provided at no charge to those entering the community.
Since 1978, San Patrignano has taken in over 20,000 people, offering them a home, healthcare, legal assistance, and the opportunity to study, learn a job, change their lives, and regain their status as full members of society.
With ultra-modern facilities, accommodating 1,800 addicts across 228 shared dorms and 60 individual houses, the project is completely self sufficient and offers 57 different types of work programs for its residents.
The most important part of San Patrignano’s mission has always been helping others – gathering requests for assistance and offering concrete solutions to problems.
The only requirement is the will to stop using drugs and to make a radical change in life, grow and change
Among the problems that affect the drug addict, drug use is the least relevant.
The core of the problem is not drugs, nor the abstinence crisis: it is the human being with his fears and the black holes that threaten to suck him in. That is why I do not like to say nor hear that ours is a community for drug addicts.
Ours is a community for living, where you can restart in life after years spent as a social outcast.
Ours, if we really need a definition, is a community against social marginalization