Find inspiration, read and write in its intimate and pleasant rooms
The gentlemen of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century used to select a café as their second home. Caffè Fiorio had its literary glories and could count many d i s t i n g u i s h e d writers and great artists among its regular customers. M a s s i m o D’Azeglio, the famous statesman, painter and writer, used to come to Fiorio’s halls when he was not sitting at Nazionale. It is known that his book “Gli ultimi casi di Romagna [the latest cases of Romagna” received negative comments at Fiorio, whereas his historical novel “Ettore Fieramosca” earned greater acclaim, which was born to bolster the mood of Risorgimento, reminding Italians of their glorious past. Giovanni Prati, another important figure, writer of the Risorgimento period, wrote some poems here. Some transformed Caffè Fiorio into a real editorial office. In the nineteenth century, Avalle, the director of “Il Fischietto” [the whistle] wrote this famous satire in the halls of the Café on Via Po. He decided there who to put in the pillory, without sparing anybody, including Cavour, who put up with the gaffes and had the wits to laugh at the satire and arrows directed at himself.
Friedrich Nietzsche must be mentioned among Fiorio’s regular customers, who used to frequent Fiorio while he stayed in Turin. It would be interesting to find out which pages he wrote while sitting at Fiorio. Thinking of him and his nature, one reminisces of what the writer Alfred Polgar said, “There are people at cafés who want to be alone, but they need company to do so.” Tomasi from Lampedusa wrote the short story “La Sirena [The Mermaid].”
Fiorio never ceased to be a literature club. Writers and journalists used to spend their time discussing literature, history, politics and art at its halls. It seemed like the tradition was lost, but actually it simply transformed and keeps living. It is no coincidence that Giuseppe Culicchia wrote his novel “Tutti giù per terra” [We all fall down] in its halls.The author Oddone Beltrami, whom we mentioned above, used to meet a group of friends at Fiorio three times a week, who knew how to catalyze the town’s cultural life. Nostalgia urges us to remember some characters, such as Alfredo Segre, the writer, whose works were translated into many languages, who had to desert Italy because of racial laws, or Massimo Brum, musician and musicologist, who established Collegium Musicum of Turin. “And many, many others came to join us, amalgamating into that smithery of affections and ideas.” Almost all of them were antifascists, such that “The Café used to get deserted” during the house searches of ’30 and ’31. “Meetings were unattended for a few days, and a distracting defense was adopted. Then, after the dust settled, people would return to the oasis of happiness” and people used to go away at night only.
Hospitable cafés, like Fiorio, are safe havens while navigating the city, shelters for a break, to stop time and have a breathing space. Enrico Falqui, who was a master in this subject, wrote that “a café has and must preserve some qualities of a port, station, living room, club, foyer and hall, observatory and hiding place, backshop and shop window.” Certainly Fiorio has all of them. However, its perfect definition is “an oasis of happiness” attributed by Beltrami. A café where you can read in peace, hold relaxing meetings, laid-back conversations as time quietly and peacefully passes. A café where a customer can relish every moment, in any mood, be it melancholic or happy, well, is that not an oasis of happiness?
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