The story


Love and the bet
Fortunata and Carmelo Saitta in a small village in the province of Catania, newlyweds, and in the Syracuse apartment, with their children

They must have been twenty years old. I believe they were already married, in Catania, even without the approval of her family: what in Syracuse we call "fujtìna". They met in Cassibile, her hometown. Carmelo had gone there to visit his brother Nino, the town's parish priest. In addition to their passion, they had a profession in common: they were both tailors. Fortunata's father, however, did not want to give his daughter in marriage to a stranger from Catania, and Nino could not celebrate the wedding without her consent. After months of waiting, an exhausted Carmelo speaks to Fortunata: “Fortunata, what should we do? I have serious intentions...". Shortly afterwards, the two escape to Bronte, Carmelo's town, to become husband and wife. They will return the following month to Cassibile where they will open a shop selling fabrics, sewing threads, needles, pins, ribbons and everything else needed for sewing work. Their home is in the back room, where Fortunata sews aprons for the women and children of the town. Carmelo deals with the sale of fabrics and soon also starts making clothes. When the family expanded with the two children Biagio and Angela, Saitta was already a name linked not only to haberdashery but also to fashion.

From tailoring to quality Made in Italy
Fortunata and Carmelo in Venice and Russia, 1970s

On the left, hugged and fully dressed in Venice, on the right, having fun and à la page in the 70s, in Moscow, in one of the few funny shots of my grandfather Carmelo. Since the 1960s the shop has transformed into a true boutique of tailored clothes, much frequented by customers from the city and neighboring municipalities. The door bell jingles at all hours and for Carmelo the pace of making clothes becomes demanding. So the two entrepreneurs have an intuition: visit the textile factories in Northern Italy, where it is said that there are companies capable of producing hundreds of clothes in a few hours. Fortunata and Carmelo leave for Tuscany and Emilia, where they discover that industrial textile production is even better than in the stories: not only is the production speed impressive, but the fit is very high, the cut of the garments excellent and the quality excellent fabrics. In short - thanks to their young age and their attitude to modernity - Fortunata and Carmelo transformed the shop into a non-tailored boutique of quality Made in Italy. The era of travel begins, from Sicily to all of Italy: from Carpi to Brescia, from Florence to Empoli, in the most famous and innovative Italian companies.

“Not even a cloud above us…”
Shots of Fortunata and Carmelo, in the shop or in the garden, alone and with Giulia, their niece: me

The 80s exploded full of bright colors, perms on top of the head and large, bulky teardrop glasses. Pupo's Sanremo song "Su di noi nere una cielo" plays on the radio and Fortunata and Carmelo's shop proceeds at full speed. The two decide to review the spaces that the shop has occupied since 1960 - a house owned by Fortunata - and give it a more modern layout: the same one still preserved today. The brands handled by the store are the most authoritative of the moment: from Levi's to Carrera, from Missoni to Pierre Cardin and Laura Biagiotti. Having begun with success and a sense of novelty, these years end with a new arrival in the family. The last of three grandchildren arrives, Giulia, who immediately sees my grandparents as second parents and the shop as a second home (as well as my personal "amusement park").

The big boutique family
The orders and the Carmelo Saitta shop in the 1980s

Enza, Lidia, Nella and Pina, just to name a few. There are many orders in the shop and many of these names will become an integral part of the history of the shop and the Saitta family. When fully operational there were five or six of them, but in the more successful 1980s, the number of sales assistants reached twelve! The “Carmelo Saitta” shop, in the main street of Cassibile, is opposite the primary school and the tobacconist. For me, Giulia, who was little and always cuddled by grandfather Carmelo, it was almost a habit to "fake" small headaches so that grandfather would come and pick me up from school. He would cross the street, hold my hand and let me stand in the shop with him. At the store I was allowed to stand anywhere, but always at a safe distance from the cash register. That was my grandfather setting it off for me. And he did it very often, to give me a thousand lire to buy sweets. When I returned to the shop there was always some customer who welcomed me cheerfully: "Giulia! How you've grown! But what are you doing here, no school today?”. “I have a headache…” I lied.

The 2000s and the advent of fast fashion
Carmelo, Fortunata and me: niece Giulia

With the 2000s, the birth of the first franchising and fast fashion, the shop is no longer what it once was. Even keeping up with the times, a new consumption takes hold in Syracuse and Italy. At 19 I went to study in Milan and continued with a job in the hotel sector. Thirteen years of planes to and from Milan: after every landing in Sicily, however, the shop is always the first place I visit, where I know I will find my grandparents Fortunata and Carmelo. Over the years, I have always felt sorry to see all those shop remnants from the '60s, '70s and '80s. I knew that sector: in Syracuse those goods had to be crammed into the warehouse, but in Milan in 2010 the shops were already making a fortune with those collections. I tried a couple of times to have the goods sent to me, and for a year I participated in the East Market in Lambrate. When grandmother Fortunata passed away I had no doubts: I would restore value to the shop inventory of the garments that, over the years, my grandparents had selected together. This is how Saitta 1960 was born: a shop selling vintage clothing with labels, where the taste and foresight of Fortunata and Carmelo can be showcased again.

Saitta 1960 di Giulia Saitta
Via Nazionale 326, 96100 Cassibile (SR)


P.IVA: 11271690965

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