Once, I found a book on a bench in Rome. It was The Story of a Marriage by Greer, a book with an amaranth-coloured cover published by Adelphi. Although I'd already read it, on instinct I picked it up and took it with me to another part of the city: it was the first form of Bookcrossing that I had ever encountered. The members of the Barravento association have turned this idea into a touring project called Libri on the road.
Since it was founded, Barravento has been organising events aimed at promoting culture around the Pontina area. “Here is where we want to stay”, they tell me, and it is from their “here” that they work to fill the empty spaces with books, films, photos, paintings and the stories of the women and men they love and believe can promote a shared understanding of their city, their world.
I met up with Michael, Vera, Jamila, Federica, Martina and Marco (a total of 184 years between the six of them) in Roccagorga during the last leg of the Bookcrossing Tour which has visited festivals, events, schools and museums all over the Lazio area. With that purple cover that I'd ferried towards who-knows-which bookshop in mind, I got them to tell me about their books: how they travel in the van that someone has nicknamed a culture ambulance, and how they have been donated, or traded, or saved from the rubbish. They told me about their wish to create a kind of digital book-sharing for universal access to culture, which would be like the Brazilian Barravento, the storm that spares no sailor when it breaks and which gave Glauber Rocha the title of his 1962 film.
In the manifesto of the Cinema Novo, Rocha said of the cultural change his nation needed, “We understand this hunger”. That's exactly it. And the kids from Barravento understand that hunger too.
The story has been written by Elisa Casseri, writer.
A cultural association from Latina which promotes reading and books with its Bookcrossing Tour of Lazio.