…Italy is, unlike Britain, a visual, rather than a literary, country.  Perhaps because there’s such a forest of legal bureaucratic language, very few people read newspapers, even fewer buy or borrow books.

Tobias Jones – The Dark Heart of Italy

Given the above, it’s ironic that one of the products commonly on sale around the city, though clearly aimed at the more discerning tourist, is stationery.  Pens, hand bound books, coloured inks, monogrammed seals and wax; it’s all there for you to pen your masterpiece or create missives of undying passion for your lover’s eyes only.  Just a tip – the plot about the Jewish merchant in the city has been done already.



2 thoughts on “Will Wasn’t Here (Venezia 321)

  1. You state that “very few people read newspapers” in Italy. Have you been in a caffe’ in any smaller Italian towns outside of Venice where real Italians live? Or strolled through a park early in the morning and seen locals getting caught up on the news by reading newspapers? If you venture outside of touristy Venice, you will see many people reading newspapers and buying books. How can you imply that Italy is not a literary country? Perhaps you have never heard of Dante Alighieri?

    1. Apologies if this has touched a nerve Alessandra, but the phrase you quote is from Tobias Jones, not me. Nevertheless… http://www.pressreference.com/Gu-Ku/Italy.html and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4373775.stm

      You will find evidence elsewhere on these pages of people reading papers (and that I’ve heard of Dante) but that doesn’t preclude the possibility that its the activity of a select few. In the UK cookery book sales regularly top the best seller lists, yet a growing number of Brits don’t cook.

      In choosing a thirteenth century poet, albeit one who created the Italian language, you’re rather making Tobias Jones’ point for him. Perhaps Umberto Eco would have been more appropriate as a modern rebuttal.

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