The Antico Feudo project started out in 2012, with Greta and her partner, in order to bring the neglected family land back to life, which is in Vernio, a small mountain town in Tuscany. The choosing of alpacas came about from the desire to breed animals that, other than getting rid of weeds and keeping the grass cut, there wasn’t also the issue of getting involved in slaughtering or milk production. In fact, the only production of these alpacas is just wool fibre. Fibre that has allowed them to direct the project towards the textile world.
Antico Feudo’s objective is to create the whole textile supply chain, from breeding to the finished product whilst trying to integrate a new animal into the area and at the same time restore the local textile knowledge. In 2013 they bought their first 4 alpacas which over the years have become 25! Gradually, they’ve gone from shearing to processing fibre to be able to get the yarn, all within just a few kilometres. The yarn is then worked in the company’s workshop, where almost everything is done by hand using knitting needles and crochet hooks. Whereas, with the second-rate fibre they even manage to make fabrics for tailoring. On top of all this, they’ve started to specalise in long lost trades, organizing spindle spinning, weaving and breeding workshops.
I asked Greta where her love for alpacas came from and she replied simply that alpacas are extraordinary animals that have hundreds of virtues. Their wool is refined and stronger than a sheep’s and they’re quiet yet extremely sociable animals. They’re also clean, never aggressive and their temperament is a bit like a cat’s. The females are exceptional mothers, so loving and caring and always on hand to help their little ones. They’re perfect grasscutters as they’ve only got teeth on the bottom, the ones on top are actually just soft cartilages and so they don’t rip out the grass but rather cut it delicately without spoiling the ground.
Intrigued by Greta’s story and driven by the concept of Alpaca Day – which I mean is to visit an alpaca breeding farm to let everybody know how beautiful these animals are - so we visited her breeding farm! And we literally fell in love, alpacas really are one of a kind, funny, fluffy and just waiting to to be petted. They’re so tame that even children aren’t scared of them and soon become friends with them.
So long live alpacas and well-done Greta whose love and perseverance raises the family of her alpacas as if they were her own children. We’ll be back soon for sure!