My story, the story of Biagio Santo, is the story of my country, of Southern Italy, of an authentic Salento, made up of men and women dedicated to work and to sacrifice, a country of contradictions, rude and polite, full of colour and perfume. I grew up here, in the dusty streets of the after war, barefooted, where the houses were made up of only two rooms and the neighbour's door was always open, because everyone lived and grew up together. It's impossible for me not to think of the past when, as a young boy of just eleven years, immediately after fifth grade, l took up needle and thread and, above all, began handling the fabrics. In fact my parents took me to the most qualified tailor of the town, Don Umberto, so that l could learn the trade. Right from the start, in the backroom, armed with a remarkable spirit of self-sacrifice, l learnt step after step the stages of sewing a suit, obediently following the instructions and explications of my master.

first experiences

Punctually, day after day, my patience and precision grew, because my goal was to achieve the meticulous and painstaking perfection of my master. Distractions and free time were very rare, but such was the passion and desire to learn that l wasn't aware of any self-sacrifices or disappointments. My hands became a tool for small great works, alluding to the emotions of my heart whilst my anxious eyes saw the fruits of all my sacrifices. I remained however a young boy. As soon as it was possible l would return to my grandmother's house, where a gentle caress was always waiting for me. Being young and physically strong l was always ready to help my grandmother, l would fetch the water for her from the nearby fountain. I was enchanted by her garden with all it's typical aromatic plants, mint, rosemary and sage. She tended her flowers with passion in order to forget the hardships and sufferings of her past; but the thing that gave her the greatest pleasure was seeing her lilies flower. This is one of the clearest images l have of my youth, my grandmother's lilies flowering in the spring time.

my story begins

My grandmother, a simple woman rigorous and essential, just like her lilies which today symbolize my work. I have stolen determination and tenacity from my grandmother, two qualities which have never abandoned me, not even during the hardest moments of my life. In the 1960's l left my country to emigrate abroad, in search of fortune and new experiences, but my youthful enthusiasm for my old job never really abandoned me. It was a chance meeting with a tie manufacturer in Milan that led to a professional collaboration, and which re-awakened my passion to pick up needle and thread and begin sewing a new phase of my life. I was no longer alone, l had my wife by my side, who with the determination that characterizes her, helped to rekindle the flame for my old job, and convince me that my tailoring skills were a key resource for creating unique neckties back in our hometown. This would later reveal the future: and l see my four sons working alongside me with the same enthusiasm as when l was a young boy.

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