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Libreria Antiquaria Baduel

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.” ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

We have a total of four bookstores within the walls of Orvieto’s historical center. A disproportionate number for a town of its size—they’re eclipsed only by the number of bars, restaurants, barbershops and underwear stores.

Unfortunately, over the last several decades the world has witnessed the long, slow death of the independent bookshop. Most blame the decline on the advent of superstores and later by the domination of online companies such as Amazon. In today’s digital-based world is there still a place for brick-and-mortar bookstores?

One former Dublin bookseller and regular visitor to Italy thinks there is. “I believe that bookstores will survive in some manner, shape or form; they are already evolving by offering customers comfortable cafes, other gift items and electronics, including access to digital books via their own websites, while remaining cultural hubs. Today I am a frequent traveller in search of independent bookstores wherever I go!”

A book enthusiast

Bookworms who visit Orvieto will be happy to know that there are two such ‘repositories of knowledge’ located not far off the main high street, but far from the maddening crowds.

Libreria Arcimboldo

GianLuca Fioravanti of Libreria Arcimboldo

Libreria Arcimboldo is a second-hand bookshop located on Via Filippeschi (between Piazza della Repubblica and the medieval quarter.) The little shop sells a fascinating mishmosh of art books, first editions, out of print titles, literature, poetry, old bibles, and even vinyl records.

Proprietor GianLuca Fioravanti wasn’t always passionate about books and reading. In high school he’d studied economics, but found the subject so tedious and boring that he almost gave up reading all together. “Then I ran across Kafka and Flaubert—two leading novelist of the last two centuries—I have not stopped reading since.” Changing to the study of philosophy opened him up to the worlds of art, history and poetry, as well.

Finding work in the literary field wasn’t easy so GianLuca took a series of jobs that helped him develop his people and trading skills. During that period he lived in Rome’s Trastevere district where he spent a great deal of time browsing neighborhood bookshops. He literally woke up one day and thought, “EUREKA! I will open a bookstore!” He chose Orvieto because it’s where his ancestors originated and because, “I think the city is gorgeous with many hidden treasures.”

One of those treasures is Libreria Arcimboldo.

Libreria Arcimboldo, Via Filippeschi, 16; Tel: (+39) 380.4757293; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LibreriaArcimboldo/; Email: libreriaarcimboldo@gmail.com. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00am to 1:30pm & 4:00pm to 8:30pm. Closed Mondays.

Libreria Antiquaria Baduel

Owner of Libreria Antiquaria Baduel, Mario Tedeschini

Mario Tedeschini’s love of reading began at age thirteen. Spending afternoons with his nose in a book from his parents’ library, he began cataloging each finished volume by subject and time of printing. In essence he’d drafted his first inventory—unaware that years later it would become his profession.

Mario started his career in 1997 with a bibliographic study in which he published a catalog of ancient books. In 2000, he opened Libreria Antiquaria Baduel on Via Vitozzi and, at about the same time, was certified as an expert authorized to issue opinions about the originality and market value of books, prints and manuscripts.

The oldest book in his possession at the moment was printed in 1561, but Mario points out that books aren’t necessarily deemed rare or valuable because of their age; rather they’re appraised for their historical significance or important subject matter.

Formation of Eve, relief basement of the façade of the Orvieto Cathedral. Engraving made in 1791

“The engine that drives me to continue a job that is “out of step” with a digital world is dictated by the passion to discover rare editions or books virtually unknown,” Mario explains. “I am compelled by an irresistible impulse to study, observe and touch a book—where all the senses are involved. This passion is driven by cultural enjoyment and the desire to preserve history—not as a mere economic interest, since that would end all the magic that surrounds the world of books.”

Libreria Antiquaria Baduel, Via A. Vitozzi, 7/7A; Tel & Fax: (+39) 0763.342046; Email: baduel@baduel.it; Website: https://baduel.it; Winter hours: 9:30am to 1:00pm & 4:30 to 7:00pm. Closed Mondays. Summer Hours: 9:30 to 1:00pm & 5:00pm to 7:30pm. Closed Saturdays.

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Dictionary.com defines writer’s block as follows:

“a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.”

Bingo!

Now that I have a diagnosis and understand the symptoms, I’m ready to find a cure.

This paralyzing syndrome, I’ve discovered, is quite common among those who write on a regular basis. There are different schools of thought on what brings about writer’s block in the first place – the most common seems to be that writer’s block is a vicious cycle generated from a fear that your work might not be good enough, followed by anxiety, which in turn stops the flow. It could be caused by a lack of inspiration or maybe you don’t have enough interesting material to write about.

Whatever the cause, writer’s block steps on your creativity hose, preventing ideas and coherent thoughts from making it onto the page. An acute ailment, this disorder must be eradicated before it becomes a chronic condition. If you’re determined to snuff out this insidious and confidence-blowing virus once and for all, here are some suggestions from writers who’ve had “the block” and overcame it:

#1: Take a break. Walk away from the project and do something fun.

#2: Sit down and type ten of the worst pages you’ve ever  written.

#3: Turn off your computer screen and write as fast as you can. Edit later.

#4: Give your ideas time to form and try writing about a variety of different things.

#5: Seek therapy.

#6: Make a schedule and stick to it. Write everyday.

#7: Eat chocolate and make yourself a nice cup of tea.

#8: Have a change of scenery.

#9: Be authentic in your writing: if it’s not working it may be a “lie”. 

#10: Go to Italy immediately for inspiration!

Thanks to fellow expat writers Debbie Oakes, Barbara Zaragoza, Giuliana Sica, Rhonda Walker, Mark Leslie and Lisa Chiodo for their contributions to this post – I couldn’t have done it without you.  “Write on”!

by Toni DeBella

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writ·er [rahy-ter] noun. a person engaged in writing

The words scribbler, dabbler, pencil pusher and hack all come to mind as a description of the activity in which I am now engaged.  But the term “writer” – that particular word sticks in my throat. For me the title has always been reserved for those who actually deserve it, such as the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Capote, Irving and Bradbury

So what makes someone a “real” writer?  Are you a writer when you are paid to write?  If so, how much money buys you this status?  Is a writer someone who gets published?  Today’s publishing landscape has changed to include self-published websites, bloggers, contributors, ghostwriters, editors, etc.  Which of these capacities qualifies you as a writer and which do not? How many people in the world must agree that you are a writer in order for you to call yourself one?  Do people fill out a ballot designating you as such?  What is the litmus test one must pass to become a member of this elite club?  

Even if I had answers to the above questions perhaps they might not amount to a hill of beans?  Could it be that the name you give yourself isn’t really that important? Perhaps it isn’t what you say you do that matters, but that what you do brings about fulfillment.  Every day I sit down at my computer and put words onto a page.  Maybe that’s all I really need to know.  I write.

by Toni DeBella

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