The comparison may seem risky, yet in a corner of the Marche capital we find something similar to a characteristic corner of the French capital. We're talking about
of the Parisian bouquinistes, the famous book stalls that have animated a part of the Seine for about 400 years, perpetuating a tradition that, beyond the commercial reality, has been
historically relevant for the salvation and conservation of the texts: the booksellers of the bouquinistes have the merit of having done their utmost to steal from the hordes of the various wars volumes that would otherwise
irretrievably lost. In 2019 they were declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site.
In the photo: Pierluigi Sonnino's outdoor bookshop in the central Piazza Cavour in Ancona
In Ancona something similar to the bouquinistes can be found in the central Piazza Cavour: it is Pierluigi Sonnino's open-air bookshop. It certainly doesn't have the centuries of life of its counterparts behind it
Parisian, but a decent experience, given that it dates back to 1985. Anyone passing by cannot help but notice a series of colorful stalls packed full of volumes and more.
Sonnino is not a simple retailer, he is an unmistakable character in his service and style, / (he never fails to wear one of his many hats and one of his imaginative ties).
He embodies the role of the bookseller with a passion for books and testimonies of the past. With an original attention to culture: in the 90s he had the idea of making his stalls unique
commissioning the painting to the French artist Christian Martin, who chiseled the sheets with his black and white optical patterns. Then when he had to restore them he entrusted the work to Run, al
century Giacomo Bufarini, internationally renowned street art artist, who said he was happy to
working in an area so full of meaning, of people, of life. Inspired by the place and the context, he illustrated a series of lively and fantastic stories that cheer up that part of the square under the
large tree even when containers are closed. It's a sort of permanent outdoor exhibition.
The goods are used goods, carefully chosen by the bookseller from among the many goods that people bring him. With a glance he is able to understand the value, the state of conservation, the saleability of
every piece. Occasional sellers totally rely on his unquestionable expert judgment. He was one of the first to organize an exchange service for used school textbooks, offering to
community the possibility of significant savings in this field too. Now he dedicates himself only to the research and sale of used objects and texts for reading, cooking, history, art and so on and so forth.
Sonnino is keen to say that his books attract people who would never enter a traditional bookshop. He talks about it with a touch of legitimate pride that even those who don't often have
familiar with reading, attracted by the offering in the open, at first you cast a distracted glance, then you are captivated by a title or a cover and thus begin your experience as a reader.
Arranged in plain sight are books, vinyl records, old prints, paintings, DVDs of documentaries and cult films, collections of comics, encyclopedias, postcards, holy cards, calendars, archives and ancient objects,
surrounded by figurines and superstitious tools, pinwheels. A pout pourri of culture, tradition and history carefully selected among the many things that people want to get rid of and that others are willing to buy. It is not uncommon to find real gems for collectors.
The audience of customers is made up first and foremost of these lovers of things from times gone by, to which are added passers-by, curious and passionate readers, scholars even coming from neighboring towns
to buy books and comics at a good price and unobtainable. It is difficult to pass through Piazza Cavour and not stop and the visit can be long because it is easy to get lost among the many options.
Often there are interesting encounters between the visitors: there is no shortage of art critics, teachers and university professors, students with whom it is common to strike up a conversation.
It is these characteristics that have meant that even in times of digital reading, the demand for used books has remained high. Pierluigi Sonnino, however, was able to modernize the
service and opened an online resale on Ebay. It's worth checking out the page.
Facebook: Sonnino bookshop