Around the world in bookshops – ITALY
Passepartout Libreria Caffe - A Bookshop With Heart
I recently travelled to Recanati, in the beautiful Le Marche region of Italy. An area seldom frequented in comparison to the famous neighbouring county of Tuscany.
Recanati is a hilltop town bursting its golden, ancient city walls with words. Home to the famous Italian poet, Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), the town's logo is the symbol for 'Infinity'; which is said to be Leopardi's most famous work.
It was on an early evening jaunt of the town with my baby, husband and friends that my Italian friend swiftly nudged us towards a place serving "some of the best wine in town". Imagine my bibliophile delight when we headed down a narrow staircase into a bookshop! The first thing I noticed was a large sticker displaying 'Refugees Welcome'. This was a lovely sight to see. After all, it is words fostering love that will fix these problems, so this welcome sign was well placed amongst a backdrop of books.
The cosily lit room was lined with brightly illustrated book spines and art posters. A bar sat humbly but beautifully at the back, serving classic Italian early evening drinks with snacks; aperitivo. The food offered was a fantastic vegetarian selection, served with deliciously palatable red wine. We popped broad beans, which had arrived straight from the owner's garden, cracked open peanuts and enjoyed olive tapenade and truffle cream on bread.
A handful of tables dotted the fairy light adorned room and people came and went happily, browsing the shelves. Our baby boy crawled around, heading straight towards the children's section; all in Italian of course, but this matters not to a 13 month old! He discovered a bookcase filled with toys and games, alongside a wall of mirrors; his evening was made! The lady behind the bar remarked only that our boy was a happy soul, she cared not to have a baby crawling around. This is a nod to the Italian's love of family and why travelling here with a baby is a pleasure.
My friend went on the hunt for a book bound birthday gift, whilst my Italian friend finished his wine over a book blurb that caught his eye. I found a foreign language section and amused myself with quirky old English book covers, amid reading a book to my boy in my best attempt at Italian. My language skills may leave a lot to be desired, but the boy picked up 'ciao' after just two days.
This bookshop has heart. It is welcoming to everyone, including refugees, tourists speaking little of the lingo and babies too. It's a place you want to fall into and not ever leave. It feels safe. It inspires. If I could, I'd sip a glass of red wine under those fairy lights tonight, book in hand. Such is the beauty of this place, this English girl would gladly overlook the language barrier and soak up the poetic Italian prose.
This post was written by @mama_scrumpy who describes herself as a relaxed nature loving mama. Follow her on Instagram