Bologna isn’t just about food. Locals like to read, for example, quite a lot. And luckily there’s quite a wide choice of independent bookshops where you can lose yourself among the written word and a sincere passion for the job of bookseller. Here’s my favorite five.
Modo, Via Mascarella,
Proudly amidst the buzz of night-loving Via Mascarella, this night-loving libreria (it opens around 6 PM and closes after midnight) has everything you need: a wonderful atmosphere, a careful selection of the best and latest on fiction, essays and graphic novels, a rich calendar with at least two book presentations per week and an even richer selection of workshops and courses. These are mostly focused in miniature, handwriting and lettering, but don’t disdain zen painting and watercolor. Modo is also a marvelous place to hang out if you’re alone one evening or just early and waiting for your friends. Either way, you’ll find something interesting to look at and some pretty cool music in the background. Oh, as if they weren’t already cool enough, they also recently opened a twin space next door where they hold exhibitions.
Ulisse, Via degli Orti
So off the beaten path and so worth a detour. This medium-sized bookshop with a penchant for travels (hence the name Ulisses) and a passionate, genuine love for the written word and the printed page is resisting, bold and fierce, against the big brand chains and its non – central location, and it’s doing it marvelously. Almost always open, no matter if it’s Sunday or Christmas Day (I swear: it once saved me on a Christmas morning), clearly loved by its many costumers, it breathes and exudes competence and enthusiasm. What else could you ask a bookshop for?
Trame, Via Goito
So small it’s endearing and so famous in Bologna it doesn’t need any publicity. Along with Modo, this is the perfect example of The Independent Bookshop, with an owner always ready to give you a heartfelt advice and a passion for presentations. Because Trame is small but bold, so it manages to provide the right setting, as well as the coziest of atmospheres, when it comes to present a book.
Libreria di cinema, teatro e musica, via Mentana
If you want to dream a little dream, this is the place. Super small and deliciously focused on the performing arts, it is of course in the heart of the Uni area and gathers Dams students, aspiring actors, cinephiles and theatre lovers. Owner Ivan is also an active and passionate cinephile. You can meet him during Cinema Ritrovato at the book fair on the Cinematheque bookshop or sometimes emerging, like it happened yesterday on intellectual Radio 3, from a radio program, successfully winning a radio quiz. About cinema, obviously.
Libreria per ragazzi Giannino Stoppani, Via Rizzoli
You don’t need to read Italian neither to be a kid to be in love with this gem of a bookshop. As central as it can be, it provides a lucky detour if you’re waking around Piazza Maggiore with your kids or just if you want to sink into the best of illustration and literature for the youngest. Full of spark, competence and magic all year round, it peaks and blossoms during the International Children Book Fair (april), when it hosts presentations by the finest writers and illustrators in the field.