Italian Word of the Week: LIBRO

italicsby Daniela Gross

In Italian the word “libro” designates a book (in the plural becomes “libri”). But in Italy to talk about book and books is a tricky question. Italy boasts a prestigious literary heritage, but the current situation is horrible. The latest report of Istat, the National Institute of Statistics, says that only 26 millions of Italians (more than the half of the population) read at least one book in 2012 and that the number of published works is decreasing (less than 9.4% in the last year).

In this situation it may seem heroic to dedicate an entire festival to the Italian Jewish Book like the Festa del Libro ebraico that started yesterday in Ferrara, and in some way it is. But the good news is that even in this landscape of declining readers, books and the Jewish culture mantain even today a strong and fascinating appeal. The Festa del libro ebraico mixes some irresistible ingredients: the enchanting atmosphere of a little city of the North Italy, Ferrara, that has an important Jewish history, art, events, meetings with the authors. And thanks to this formula, even in this fifth edition the initiative is confirmed as a big success.