In Turin’s Circolo dei Lettori (“readers’ circle”) you can walk around, rest, look around, play, eat, and enjoy great conversation.
And you can read, of course. Built in the 1600s, Palazzo Graneri della Roccia has been home to the Circolo since 2006; here reading – “a necessarily individual act”, according to Italo Calvino – is not one’s impregnable retreat: on the contrary, it flourishes as a crucial element for life in society.
Borges, both a great writer and a great reader, once said: “A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.”
Perhaps that is the reason why, wondering about these halls and stopping in the opulent spaces, you never feel like an outsider in an exclusive club: the Circolo is open to everyone, and allows the world to enter from all sides, unrestrained.
And so the world arrives with exhibitions and performances, with workshops and reading groups in various languages, with classes dedicated to literature, calligraphy, music, art, creative writing and theater. It brings along the future of publishing, with the virtual library and e-readers on loan. And it introduces tempting food and drinks, at the bar or in the restaurant.
The world is everywhere in the Circolo, just like it is in books.