Within the European Project Efeseiis (Enabling the Flourishing and Evolution of Social Entrepreneurship for Innovative and Inclusive Societies) ARCO’s (Action Research for CO-developmet, PIN S.c.r.l.) researchers undertook the in-depth case study examination of 5 examples of Italian social enterprises.

In addition to the objective of understanding Italian social enterprises’ peculiarities, in terms of decision making, management strategy and organization life cycle, the focus of the analysis is to identify which are the main constraining factors that impede the evolution of Italian social enterprises, referring not only to the micro level and local context, but also to the macro-meso elements, namely cultural, legal and institutional aspects.

Considering this framework, researchers agreed on launching the study project with Lanificio 159, Roman enterprise who has been working within the cultural and entertainment sector since 2007. Lanificio was not established as a social enterprise ex lege but it has a strong inclination to social issues and interest to the social impact of its activities.


Lanificio 159: on the borderline, by choice.

Lanificio was established in 2007 by three friends with previous experience in the restaurant industry. It was created as a space to host and organize private events, in an unusual location, namely the former Luciani’s woollen mill in Pietralata neighbourhood in Rome. In few years it became one of the most representative places of Roman clubbing. Thanks to the earnings from the club, Lanificio combined its original activity with the production of exhibitions, concerts and performances. In 2009 Lanificio Performa, a multifunctional space devoted to dance and the performative arts, was launched and in 2011 the enterprise scaled its offer with the inauguration of Lanificio Cucina, a creative and International restaurant.

In line with Lanificio’s inspiring principles, in 2012 the organization devoted a specific space for temporary expositions and performances (Expo) and launched the Project “Orto”, an urban garden that covers the 1.000sqm of roof terrace surface. “Orto” is the explicit realization of Lanificio’s sustainability aim. Beyond the possibility of producing vegetables, herbs and spices for the restaurant, it is conceived as the solution to the disposal of the organic waste from the kitchen. The project, still ongoing, would like to build a composter, made available to all the citizens of the neighbourhood, in order to ease the disposal of the urban organic waste. Concerning recycling and reutilization, Lanificio Officina organizes creative workshops of furniture restoration and woodworking. Through barter people can exchange their old chairs, tables and closets for a meal at the restaurant and their piece of furniture will be used as part of Lanificio Cucina furnishings. Moreover the restored furniture are for sale both in the restaurant and in the Lanificio Officina space.

Finally, Lanificio is a co-working space too. It enables collaboration between different organizations and freelancers, not only in the artistic and cultural field.