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BookCity Milano 2018.

The BookCity Milano 2018

The desire to read books, meet, and discuss with the writers their work and current issues still lives. From 15 to 18 November, the BookCity Milano 2018 book festival took place in Milan, which included 1,452 events. About 1,500 meetings and conferences in hundreds of places in Milan turned the city into the intellectual center of Italy.

And despite the densest cultural program of those days - from 14 to 19 November, the FICTS «Sport Movies & TV» was held - it was the book festival that gathered a huge number of fans. It took place throughout Milan, from the Royal Palace to the “Milan Kremlin”, Sforza Castle, at many historical palaces in Milan (like the Palazzo Clerici, where beautiful Tiepolo frescoes are preserved), in libraries, theaters, museums, numerous universities, the Institute of the Blind, the aquarium and planetariums. And practically everywhere there were queues to listen to your favorite writers or politicians, there were 2996 people. For example, it was possible to listen to the latter, now the ex-premier of Italy Paolo Gentiloni, without security and excitement.

There were a lot of people who wanted to attend meetings.

There were a lot of people who wanted to attend meetings, photo ©

However, there were many interested people who did not get to the scheduled meetings. Some rooms contained only 20-30 people, and there were much more willing people. Somewhere it was possible to book a place in advance, but in most places there were live lines. Thank God, the weather was warm enough in Milan, and it was not very cold to wait. For example, in one of the halls of the Sforza Castle 120 chairs were placed, but the hall would have contained twice as many participants. I want to believe that all comers were hit, because the meeting was very interesting. They talked about fake news, from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Spouse-writers Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti talked about Leonardo da Vinci and his time, and Marcello Foa, the new president of the state television and radio company RAI, talked about the pseudo-news of today. The couple said that Italians made an icon from Leonardo in Italy, but the reality was very different. Leonardo did not know Greek and other languages, because he read only translations, and often did not understand, did not rethink what was written there.

Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti

Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti, photo © Evgeny Utkin

Leonardo Da Vinci was always late, almost all his inventions were in the form that he represented them, did not work and could not work ... These words sounded like fake news in the city where there is a “Leonardo Museum”, in the “Museum of Science and Technology” a large exposition is devoted to Leonardo, and finally, in the Milan church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, there is a Last Supper fresco. Moreover, the authors represented the novel-detective story.

Marcello Foa also presented his book "The Warlocks of News" (Gli stregoni della notizia). He said that he had been dealing with false information for 20 years. He gave an example of a rather long-standing, December 1989, when the unrest of the Hungarians in Timisoara ended in a coup d'état, the overthrow of the leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his execution.

Mauro Corona

Mauro Corona, photo © Evgeny Utkin

So, the entire press of the world wrote about hundreds of dead in Timisoara, and in fact, people were taken in morgues, photographed in different places of the city, and then returned to the morgue again. Foa did not tell about the events of the past few years, although there would have been plenty of examples. Yes, and he was accused of fake news spreading, especially when he was nominated for the post of RAI. They say only the resilience of the vice premier of Italy Matteo Salvini helped Foa. As a result, it was approved for the most important post of the broadcasting company.

Matteo Salvini unexpectedly appeared at a meeting when there was a conversation with Mauro Corona, a mountaineer, sculptor and writer, "a man from the mountains". I also listened to him, and was next to Matteo Salvini. I have known him since long ago, when he was entrusted with the party "League of the North", which was shaken by scandals. According to polls, it gained less than 4% of the vote and could practically disappear from the Italian parliament, and indeed from the political life of Italy. In a short time he raised the results of the party to 12%.

Evgeny Utkin (left) and Matteo Salvini (right)

Evgeny Utkin (left) and Matteo Salvini (right), photo © Evgeny Utkin

I asked Salvini if he happened to be here, listen to one of the BookCity Milano 2018 meetings, or came to Mauro Corona on purpose. The Vice Prime Minister replied: “Yes, to him, I really like him!”. After that, Salvini waited until the end of the meeting, talked to the Corona, received a book from him, talked with numerous participants, and left. It should be noted that he was without many guards (only one person in civilian clothes), and he was greeted very warmly.

The BookCity Milano festival was held for the first time in 2012. In the first year there were 437 events (1452 this year), they took place in 133 different places (354 now). This growth has shown that Milan can be not only the capital of fashion and design, but also of culture. And that interest in books has not disappeared.

Evgeny Utkin, Milan, Italy