A small bookshop with a cafeteria in a student district of Rome.
A small world where the walls are made of shelves of books, the bar as backdrop and the tables as the trees of the courtyard…
There is a strange peace-and-love atmosphere, which I find really surprising these days.
Obviously, it was the love for the books that lead those guys – I’m not sure I understood how many they are – to open this bookstore-café.
They told me that, since that district was full of students, there were just academic bookshops, and no one was specialised. So they decided to open one.
A young place, the first of a long series of unconventional and successful bookshops and cultural spaces… they want to roll their sleeves up, to grow, they have no bonds, they meet to discuss and decide together, and to find inspiration in their everyday difficulties. they are young! They have a different (luckily) vision of life.
The selection is quite focused, with a strong inclination for picture books, but also a good taste for fiction… I could find there the novel by Hiromi Kawakami, which just a few days before I couldn’t find in a big bookshop, and I am sure that the guys from Giufà know that the comic by Taniguchi Sensei no kaban (The Teacher's Briefcase) is based on that book.
Less is more.
Open to chatting, to share literary experiences with the customers, share their enthusiasm and their passions…
Their ideas are original and they speak of their bookshop like of a little world where the client can feel comfortable and more free to choose.
Of all the phrases they wrote me, I liked one in particular; so I’m quoting it word for word, as it was the title of a composition:
being able to explain how the “book world” can survive, despite the discount promotions and the supermarket-bookshop hegemony.
What does it mean?
Maybe that also the little, independent bookshops, the ones that know how to work, can exist?
Maybe that in Italy there is some space left for a different book selection, besides the one proposed by the big bookstore chains?
Maybe that not everyone likes the same books?
Maybe that the book and the pleasure of reading it and leafing through it aren’t dead yet?
And last but not least, my “favourite”. I asked them to start a freewheeling talk about their activity, so that I could draw from their speeches some material to write this article… but they told me: we are shy, reserved... we’re not good at long speeches...
And besides, what could they say more than what Mrs Giufà does, with her red shelves, her chess floor and her warm brick ceiling?
The lady who invites the guys to sit down and leaf through a book, chat, or have a cup of coffee…
With those colourful tiny dolls in the display of the counter…
With those kind, smiling booksellers and bartenders, always available to chat about their biggest passion…
In a neighbourhood lived by people who are still too young to be contaminated by the precepts of the decadence.
Via degli Aurunci 38
Sunday and Monday 3:00 pm – midnight
Tuesday to Saturday 2:00 pm – 2:00 am