Prague: a City in Books

5 9 2018

Prague: a City in Books

Festivaletteratura's themed library dedicated to the Bohemian capital

The literary exploration of Una città in libri, undertaken in recent years by Festivaletteratura to discover the power of urban imagery through the words of poets, storytellers, artists and essayists, makes a stop this year in Prague, in the heart of the Old Continent. From the Middle Ages to the present day, the central European city has been a crossroads of people, dynasties, languages and literature. The city seats have hosted sovereigns and alchemists, mystics and heretics, poets and revolutionaries, experiences some moments of glory and other darker episodes, converting official history into legend. The charmed capital of Europe is the protagonist of a small temporary library curated by Alessandro Catalano and Luca Scarlini, with around 300 books divided into themed sections which convey all of its melancholic magic. Researchers and Slavists* will guide you through the names and masterpieces of the stories contained in these pages, where fundamental works by the likes of Hašek, Kafka, Kundera, Neruda, Seifert and Urzidil are featured alongside art books, memoirs, historical essays and hard -to-find anthologies. On the table with the map of Prague, next to quotes from singers, you can add your own memories - real or imagined - of a street, a park or a square, while in the listening posts you will find a range of 60s and 70s rock music from Prague (which you can also find here), a sound box that shows how the creative energy of the city has never stopped.

You can find the library at the Tenda dei Libri. Opening hours: Wednesday 5: 16:00-20:00 / from Thursday 6 to Saturday 8: 10:00-20:00 / Sunday 9: 10:00-18:00

* The books on display are presented by: Stefania Mella, Eleonora Bentivogli, Lucia Bonora, Tiziana D'Amico, Dalibor Dobiáš, Anita Frison, Mauro Ruggiero.


In addition to Una città in libri, the Festival will celebrate Prague and Czech literature on other occasions, including events with the extraordinary Czech authors Patrik Ouředník (ev. 140) and Kateřina Tučková (ev. 74), in Mantua for the first time, including Italian authors such as Adriano Sofri and Giorgio Fontana (ev. 163). Also important to highlight is the musical programme, from Friday to Sunday, at the Rotonda di San Lorenzo Giovanni Bietti will introduce the series of events Praga è la mia orchestra (ev. 95, 152, 183), with the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam, who will play pieces inspired by the city and from figures such as Mozart, Dvořák and Janáček. Finally, on the evening of Friday 7 September, among the tombs and sculptures of the Cimitero Monumentale in Mantua, Luca Scarlini and the Compagnia della Letteratura will lead the choral performance of Notturno Praghese (ev. 97), giving voice to the most representative authors (and ghosts) of that nocturnal and gothic Prague that remains in our imagination.


The focus on Prague is a result of a collaboration between the Rete Bibliotecaria Mantovana, the Rete Bibliotecaria Bresciana e Cremonese, the Centro Ceco di Milano and Trame Sonore. The cover image was given by the archive of the capital city of Prague.