Il Giornalaio

Italian NewsagentThe Italian Newsagent

It all started during one of my “Tuesday with Enrico” evenings, when my Italian friend Enrico and I meet up for dinner and take turns to cook, while we laugh about life. This Tuesday’s deep analysis of IL GIORNALAIO, also known as EDICOLANTE was exceptionally funny. The English word for it sounds quite neutral and impersonal and I am sure it will be a bit difficult for you guys to understand the charm, the usefulness and the power that a simple NEWSAGENT has in Italy.

I bet all of us Italians have had and still have a newsagent in our life. Mine is called “Nicola l’edicolante” who is one of the few people I still visit when I go back to Verona.

But why is this man and what he offers to us, so valuable? That is the question I will try to answer here.

First of all… what happens at the Newsagent stays at the newsagent!

When you know what you can actually buy in Italy at the newsagent, you will know what I am talking about. Almost everything he sells (yes, most of the times he is a man) is ADDICTIVE.

Starting with the standard items, like IL QUOTIDIANO – the daily newspaper -, LA RIVISTA di GOSSIP -the gossip magazine – and books and DVD’s, which become miraculously much cheaper than in the bookshops and we are forced to buy them because “ te li tirano dietro”, literally – they throw them at you. I BIGLIETTI DELL’AUTOBUS – bus tickets – are also very essential and when are sold “in un carnet” (a package of 10) the elderly Italian granny can’t wait to go to town.

In fact what normally happens is… instead of keeping the change, she “invests” it into a GRATTA A VINCI – scratch card – and she wins 2 euros. She salivates from excitement and she decides to buy another one but obviously on the second round, she loses her game. Her natural reaction then is to look for comfort into her favorite weekly magazine, GRAZIA or OGGI which most of the times, give a gadget away. This time though the gift is a lilac lipstick she will never wear. She knows it but she will fall in the same trap again!

The most emblematic and unique item you can ever buy at an Italian giornalaio remains:LA SETTIMANA ENIGMISTICA

There is no such thing in Anglo-Saxon countries and to attempt a translation would be an offense. If you have the chance, buy one copy when you are in Italy and then if you don’t like it, sell it at high price to the Italians here in Cape Town. You will get your money back and more!

The bond created between the giornalaio and his special clients is IRREPLACEABLE!In fact this relationship grows with age and just gets better – like the wine.

Many male friends of mine remember when they were little children and they used to pop in at their newsagent after Sunday church. The sticky smell of those FIGURINE PANINI – an iconic collection of stickers we used to have in Italy with the images of soccer players – are still a vibrating part of their childhood, together with the smell of the tagliatelle dough, mum was making for lunch.

When you get older the deals you make with your giornalaio begin to take different shapes. If you are fanatic about war ships, you will ask him to put all the monthly USCITE – issues – of the magazines containing boat parts and soldiers, on the side for you. If you love trains, you will build up your train, in a few years if you don’t miss a copy. If you are a woman and have a passion for dollhouses, tea set or crochet, you will probably have to bake a cake for your giornalaio to support your goals.

If you are a man and start thinking your wife is stalking you on your way to the adult shop, you have just found an “ally” in the giornalaio. He is the man who will put you plenty of GIORNALINI PORNO – porn magazines – aside for you. He learnt, in fact, the technique of hiding them inside the business newspaper and handing them over to you while you wink and add UNA SCHEDINA DEL LOTTO – lottery ticket – to the deal.

If you are also embracing the possibility of having a lover in your life, the giornalaio, now as your best buddy, will be the man suggesting to buy a second phone number, with free 5 Euros airtime included, granted silence from his side and a push to also purchase the latest Menshealth magazine, which gives away a tweezers to remove hair from your nose. Only this month!

Are you beginning to understand the impact that this man has on our society?
You must also realize that for many years, every average Italian man has dreamt to FIRST sleep with Sofia Loren and SECOND, ‘FARE 13 al TOTOCALCIO’ – to win the soccer lottery – and make an impactful change to his life.

I will leave you today with my own quote:

Chi ha bisogno di un prete al giorno d’oggi per confessarsi quando c’e’ il giornalaio?
Who needs a priest nowadays for confession when you have your local newsagent?

One Response to “Il Giornalaio

  • You have painted the picture Well Fede! I can just imagine it!

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