Trieste is a city of heavy readers who are often plurilingual. They can count on 132 libraries, a very popular reading room (Emeroteca) open 7 days a week till 11 pm offering a selection of newspapers and magazines, 38 reading points which make up the Biblioteca Diffusa (a library spread out over several locations) that lends out books at bathing establishments, swimming pools, restaurants, etc., as well as a network of 19 school libraries. Furthermore, 18 bookshops, including one in which books are not sold but gifted, and several literary cafés (Trieste’s oldest and most famous creative hubs), complete the range of “book venues” in town.

“Each person willread himself”

Italo Svevo

Italo Svevo once jokingly suggested “literaturizing” lives as a sort of hygiene routine. His suggestion ties up with the pivotal role that art and the narrative of self play in the psychiatric health care revolution spearheaded by Franco Basaglia. In fact, linking reading and writing to wellbeing is a constant in the history of Trieste, and several projects of emancipation, inclusion, treatment and education have been developed around this core concept.