Café conferences on the Marches

In Gabicce Mare (some 15 kms north of Pesaro) an initiative which reminds me of the so-called Viennese Literary Cafés (Kaffeehaus Literatur) is organized by Sorelle Scola (Scola Sisters). If “in nomine omen” – as the Latins said – (i.e “names are omens”), Scola (school) sisters could not but own a “literary café” (the proper name of their ‘bar’ is Bar Sorelle Scola. Cultura&Caffè).

Their café is in Viale della Vittoria where – some 20 years ago – I was employed in the seat of the former Azienda di Promozione Turistica (Tourist Board), today simply I.A.T., providing tourists with all kinds of information. How many nice recollections of those Summers!

sorelle scola
Bar Sorelle Scola. Cultura&Caffè in Gabicce Mare

I remember once being yelled at by an angry local man – whose nickname was “Drums” (that was so nice: back then each person had a local nickname in vernacular!) – because I had mistakenly booked a conference room above our information office to 2 different local associations on same day and at the same time… oops!. Eventually we found a solution but still he was furious: he yelled at me and left (cannot blame him!).

Soon after, a young hotel manager called at our office (I remember I was alone) because he urgently needed a translation from Italian into German. Would I please take care of the translation?

Well, I started crying like a fountain and ran into the bath-room locking myself inside. When I finally found the courage to go back to the office, some ten minutes later, hoping he would be gone, he was still there. Petrified and dismayed. Still holding the letter in his hand. Probably cursing against the odds for letting an insane girl get the position at the local tourist information office. He thought, however – as he later told me – that my reaction was consequent to his request, so he started reassuring me: “well, you don’t really have to do it if you don’t feel comfortable”. Such a funny situation.

Later on I did translate that letter into German, he invited me for a drink in his hotel and we became friends.

Well, going back to the round of conferences organized by Sorelle Scola (Marche, paraggi con sorpresa), I really invite you to attend them. I’ve always found it a very “civilized” habit, that of organizing cultural events inside bars; maybe because back in my University years in Urbino I was fond of the Viennese Café – Literatur and of Karl Kraus’ wit; maybe simply because I am a ‘cappuccino” fan (yes, at any time of the day, even before lunch – ‘German style’!); maybe because bars are places where people meet, talk, gather and share life.

I am fond of ‘real bars’ (have you ever read Stefano Benni’s masterpiece “Bar Sport”? well, it tells more about Italian culture than a whole semester at the university!).

When a bar, besides being a place where people gather, becomes a place where ‘friends’ tell stories and make you discovery magic corners of your land (Simonetta Bastianelli and Domenico Pritelli are gabiccesi; Cristina Ortolani, my sister by the way, is from Pesaro, but she is a local history expert and, due to my almost 10-year-long experience working in Gabicce and thanks to some sort of osmotic process going on between sisters,  is a bit gabiccese too); well, when this happens, then a bar becomes much more than a bar.

Unfortunately the first conference (on Romanesque churches in the Marches by Simonetta Bastianelli) was scheduled on Feb 24th (already gone). However, we’ll still make it for the following:

March 10th (5 pm): Mirabili visioni. I luoghi del cinema nelle Marche by Cristina Ortolani (Enchanted visions. Cinema places in the Marches);

March 17th (5 pm): Tracce ebraiche nelle Marche by Domenico Pritelli (Along Jewish tracks in the Marches);

April 7th (5 pm):  Spigolature Marchigiane dall’Esino in giù by Simona Bastianelli e Giovanna Mulazzani.

Why don’t you join us? Even simply for a cup of cappuccino.


  1. Wow. Where to begin? I love the story about running to the bathroom for a good cry. That must be a universal female experience. I can’t count the times I did that in my younger years…and yes, often, when I came out things were much the same as they were when I’d gone in! Also, the book Bar Sport…thanks so much for the reference. I’d love to read it. Been here for ages, but still need to have life shed on this adopted culture. Have a good day!

    • Hi Charlotte,
      thank you for sharing your experience with me and for making me feel part of a wider “universal female experience”! Bar Sport by Benny is such a hilarious book (I read it at least once a year: as long as we find ‘bar dudes’ like those on our way – in Italy there is still hope!). Have a nice day!

      • Wow…if you read it once a year thst’s a sign that I must at least read it a “first time”…as soon ad I finish “Voyage in the Dark”, Jean Rhys…that’ll be next. Thanks for the reco!

  2. Simona, What a marvelous idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I was instantly back in Europe, in the cafés, all of the smells, sights, sounds… I so wish I could join some of these. Ah, well. I will in spirit.

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