Era una notte buia e tempestosa. Although this might as well be the continual, extra bold headline at the top of all our newspapers all the time, it is in fact that famous line—translated into Italian—from Snoopy’s novel in the classic American cartoon series, Peanuts. “It was a dark and stormy night.” And it is on page 1 of the latest offering from my neighborhood newsstand. What decent American could pass that up? So even though no news is good news, it is often the case that bad news is accompanied by good entertainment of an entirely different kind. At least at the Italian edicola. Hence, “What To Do/Italy”—hang out at the newsstand.
Next to newspapers in various languages (Beware! The International Herald Tribune often runs out before 10:00 in the morning), and the various Italian papers representing left, right and center, the edicole usually have a wide offering of Italian and international magazines, plus books, films whatever promotional series the newspapers are pushing at the time. The arias of Maria Callas, the complete songs of Edith Piaf, the films of Sam Peckinpaw—this is the type of fare you might be able to collect over time. We’ve purchased along with our newspapers at very reasonable prices—one a week over a period of months—entire series of cookbooks, beautifully illustrated children’s fairytales and botanical encyclopedias all at the edicola. You can also find literary classics, books on science and history, and—though I’d rather not say it—cheap toys. The latter is a trap of unimaginable proportions.
If, when in Milan, you are jonesing for the latest New Yorker, some Dutch design mag you’ve not yet heard of, the most current Apartamento, or the shots from the latest runway shows, the Edicolaccia (loosely translated: “big fat news stand”) is your destination. This indoor newsstand proudly sells just about everything, in every language 24/7. Piazzale Baiamonti 8, at the end of walking-friendly Via Paolo Sarpi (otherwise known as the heart of Milanese Chinatown).