Climbing the steps to the first floor of the historic Palazzo Pucci, both the culturally inclined and the curious will be delighted to discover the Alice & Co. independent bookstore and storytelling school mere footsteps from the Duomo. Doors to the idea-filled space with creativity at its core opened on February 25, with the inspiring and formative environment immediately evident and carefully curated bookshelves lined with small-to-medium publications.
Home to presentations, book and poetry clubs, in addition to workshops for writers, screenwriters, photographers, illustrators, podcasters and more, the cultural hub is led by Caterina Gaeta, Filippo Puddu, Mara Temperelli, and Margherita Dugini. Co-founder and artistic director, Caterina Gaeta, elaborates: “We were inspired by the fashionable idea of ‘80s New York to house cultural spaces in everyday buildings, and so we set up this first-floor former apartment as a cultural centre with no membership required, open to everyone. There’s an independent bookshop where people can come to read and chat with friends, and events will be in Italian and other languages.
We’re already working on a series of talks about gender theory and also on the problem of racism and the war in Ukraine. My wish is that it will become a cultural space for inclusion where everyone can come to share their opinion and feel free to say what they feel. It will be a space to share ideas and discover those of others and we will also have a space that’s freely available for those looking to host courses or events.”
The words Lewis Carroll gave to his iconic character Alice—“But, if the world has absolutely no sense, who’s stopping us from inventing one?”—gave the glimmer of the idea to the founders for a centre dedicated to the promotion of reading and storytelling. Those eager to expand their horizons can mount the stairs (as opposed to jumping down the rabbit hole) to find little-known texts and new writers awaiting discovery.
An area is available for a leisurely listen to podcasts and audio books for free in the aptly named Pouf On Air zone, and children are entertained in the room for little ones to draw, play with puppets and spend time reading, as well as engage in courses on drawing, collage, watercolours and origami. There’s even embroidery, chess and tarot cards amongst the widely ranging offering, and undoubtedly any time spent in this wonderland leaves visitors with a lesson learned and ideas aplenty.