In the historic Saletta Rossa of the former Guida bookshop, there is still the old red device that assigns the «shift number» to those queuing to buy a book. A reminder of the golden age of the cultural center of Port’Alba which hosted Pasolini, Eco, Kerouac and other great names in 20th century literature. An increasingly remote memory, which hopefully will be remote for a little while longer.
The 5 new owners, Francesca, Sara, Serena Mazzei and Enrica and Fabrizia Grassi who took over the premises for about 3 years after the bankruptcy in 2013, reopened it yesterday, the Saletta Rossa, for the presentation of the story by Miryam Gison, “Library Open for Resistance”, in fact. Like the space that hosts the debate, organized with the bookseller Pasquale Langella e coordinated by Anna Trieste and Lorenzo Marone.
«Work should start after this event – explain the entrepreneurs – It will last about six months. If the bureaucracy doesn’t slow down the restructuring, in short, by the end of the year or at the beginning of ’24 it will finally be able to open the cultural factory we have designed to the public». In this sense, the presence yesterday evening of Mayor Manfredi was important, assuring “an acceleration on the authorizations for the works” and announcing “a cultural bond for commercial activities in Port’Alba”. The historic via dei libri, therefore, is disputed between building sites which – after 36 months – should finally start. And ideal construction sites, of rules aimed at protecting art and at resisting a food-free zone occupied by literature. Even if there are already new bars, and the outcome of the ongoing negotiations for the former Pironti is awaited.
Something different is noticeable inside the premises. London-style industrial columns. And, not surprisingly, for safety reasons, we talk about the book with white construction helmets, between orange ribbons, corridors and rooms covered with plastic sheeting. «We presented the Scia a couple of weeks ago – explain the five entrepreneurs – We are waiting for a response from the Municipality, we hope to start very soon. We hope the mayor’s presence tonight will help this too. What has slowed down operations so far has been bureaucracy, in addition to the state in which we found the premises. Surely a bookshop will be born, with a multifunctional cultural project inspired by the London factories. There will also be space for gaming rooms, where games can be developed or used, and for an art exhibition area: design, sculpture, or brand retail sales. We also envisage an area on the four floors dedicated to catering and the evening bar. The idea is to launch new talents, as was once done in the Saletta Rossa». The future is linked to the start of the works, currently still sub-judicial in the offices of the Municipality: “If the bureaucracy slowed down the start of operations even more – conclude the businesswomen – We could organize other events like this in a short time”.
Manfredi, as soon as he arrives in Port’Alba, puts on the white helmet and reassures «the five tenacious female entrepreneurs», as he himself defines them. «This is a very important place for the city – explains the mayor – There have been bureaucratic difficulties that have accumulated over the years. For what is up to us, we will accelerate for the authorizations for the start of the works ». The mayor then announces another construction site, ideal but on which work is already being done concretely, which concerns the historic via dei libri in the belly of the city: «Recovering Port’Alba as a place of reading and cultural production is one of the important points we are putting in place, working on a constraint for commercial activities in the area, to ensure that the establishments related to culture can be protected compared to others that are related to more profitable businesses, which involves a competition that we can define a little disloyal to a bookstore. We are negotiating a regulation with the associations, which is also aimed at allowing the occupation of outdoor spaces for cultural events”.
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on Il Mattino