It was 1926 when Giuseppe Paci decided to take over the ex-stationary store Valori in the central Vitelli Square (today Matteotti Square) and open his «Libreria La Tifernate» (Tiferno Bookshop). However, during that period, the number of readers was so small that, to be able to survive selling only books, would have been utopia.
by Cristina Crisci
For this reason, the shop became a ‘bazaar’ where you could buy a little bit of everything: stationary, books, musical articles, sports articles, things for hygiene and sport, stamps and whatnot… It is said that even professor Enrico Giovagnoli, philosophy teacher at Liceo Classico ‘Plinio il Giovane’, during a lesson on the subject of the chaos that came before the creation, had given an illustrative title: «If you want to get an idea about chaos, go to the Libreria Paci». This chaos has remained a characteristic of the bookshop and of its owners who had to manage a myriad of objects, the most varied: from pencil sharpeners to filing cabinets, from memo books to encyclopedias. Giuseppe Paci’s children continued to run the activity, in particular, Marco and Ettore.
They characterized the shop by making it a bookshop as you see it now. That ‘bazaar’ in the heart of the city center and that in time has seen the city and its protagonists change, is now 90 years old. During times in which everything tends to travel on different planes compared to paper, keeping a bookshop open can’t be easy: for this it is not to be taken for granted the ability to continue such a long-lived objective. For the occasion of the 90th birthday, «LIBRI BELLI, Giuseppe Paci e la libreria editrice La Tifernate», was published (handled by Enrico Paci who also carried out the enormous job of the organization of the bookshop’s archives) and «La Casa editrice Il solco di Città di Castello» overseen by Antonella Lignani in collaboration with the Umbria Superintendent of the Archives.
These volumes were presented the 29th of January in the Camino Room in Palazzo Vitelli at Sant’ Egidio in collaboration with the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio of Città di Castello. Today the bookshop is run by Marco Paci together with his wife Daniela and their children, Isabella and Riccardo. «Now we are trying to offer a wide editorial selection for both adults and children, trying to keep our independent bookshop character, as well as taking care to set up the shop’s windows, in order to give a passersby’s glance an invitation to come in or even just to stop a minute more to reflect in front of the shop», says Marco Paci. The bookshop promotes numerous initiatives aiming at keeping a high level of attention towards books. On a monthly basis, (the first Thursday of every month at 5 pm), the readers club meets, from 10 to 13 years old. Participation is free and anyone can join this initiative.
The goal is to share reading and the love of books and the desire to meet in a different place than usual. In the course of time there have been small shows, theatrical productions, meeting with authors, courses of comics for children, animated readings and meetings dedicated to listening to music. Soon we will be starting up creative writing courses for kids which will be held in spring with the writer and poet Silvia Vecchini.
Not only books…
During the war, the Paci bookshop became a reference place not only at a cultural level, but political as well. Various testimonies tell that the path of salvation for the Hebrews and people who were politically persecuted was put into place by the Priest Beniamino Schivo which had other stops such as the Seminary and the Villa of Sacro Cuore. The bookshop Paci worked as a passage for suitcases, packages, letters and other delicate items. Along with the packages came ideas, newspapers would be read, and happenings and injustices would be talked about, and anti-Fascist jokes were gathered (published right after the fall of the Fascist regime in pamphlets and then books in 1945). After the war, in a really delicate moment for books, the editorial adventure for ‘La Tifernate’ bookshop began, which navigated between local publications, re-editions of hard-to-find classics, and the production of stationary materials.