From afar Edicola 518 looks just like another street corner newsstand. The pristine display, matte-finish publications and gratifyingly arranged colours may hint at a particularly cultivated set-up, but the extent of its social importance could easily slip by unnoticed. This is a project by Emergenze, a local endeavour and independent newspaper championing, in their words, the ambiguity of discovery. For the original few behind the project, it was a mission to return a soul to the cold predicament in which society had found itself, a desire to breathe life into this social mechanism of which they were part but did not recognise.
In 2014, the year in which Emergenze was born, Perugia was a tired and demotivated place, associated with the negative connotation of Emergenze (literally translated as emergencies); a rising drug culture and an almost total lack of prospects for young people. Emergenze sought to recapture the positive interpretation of the word, an emergence from the deep, or lunging in the opposite direction of the tide. Recent years have witnessed a remarkable uplift in both the hopes and safety of Perugia, now a vibrant and secure destination once again for students and tourists alike, but the mission for independence and curiosity has lost none of its worldwide relevance today, a world still overrun with political dissatisfaction and barely challenged business magnates monopolising our high streets.
Not only the official vendor of the now numerous Emergenze publications, in just four metres squared Edicola 518 serves as a space for the city and of the city, providing the sense of collectivity and celebration of curiosity which had long left the streets. It is a meeting point, a place of shared ideas, inspiration, discussion, complaint and of hope for resolution. In simpler terms, it is one of Italy’s greatest vendors of international, independent publishing and a host of a number of thought-provoking talks and events from inspirational figures across a wide range of cultural spheres.
Although undoubtedly a hub of great debate and discovery, Edicola 518 is a site of great modesty and humour. Discussion is welcomed, but simple pleasure and perusal is entirely welcomed. Alongside the intellectual array of political and literary texts, traditional newsstand displays open out to expose the beautiful and the great of food, travel, fashion and other lifestyle journalism. Tongue in cheek wine publication Noble Rot sits not far from thoughtful lifestyle magazine Lagom, in turn a few short racks away from Apartamento, arguably the most influential and honest interiors magazine currently available.
In a city recapturing its spirit, Edicola 518 is a beating heart of innovation.
Via Sant’Ercolano, 42/A
+39 340 763 5546
Photos by Pippa Cole, written with thanks to Antonio Brizioli for his written and recounted insights.