Mantuan pride

girondi_2Proud to be Mantuan, proud of what this city has represented for centuries and still has the potential to be. Culture, projects, research, values, collaboration, scientific rigour. Also, the dynamism of youth: the power evoked by the word Mantova, as soon as it’s uttered. These are the intentions of publishers Il Rio Edizioni, represented by none other than Giulio and Giada Girondi, a team both in life and work. My interview with them was slightly unusual, by phone, where I reached them on the other side of the world. Power of technology, imagination, desire for problem solving.


It all started with a gaze, it was 2012. At the end of his studies, Giulio was working on a PhD in conservation of the architectural heritage, Giada was about to graduate in law. In that gaze was embedded a fundamental question: what do we want to accomplish in life? Above all, what is it that can we do together? From words to deeds, the idea slowly creeped in to try their hand at publishing. They did so in a humble way because they had no previous experience. However, it is always possible to build on experience: with their training skills, methodological rigour and a great will to get better it is possible to go far. Il Rio publishing represents the pride of being Mantuan by showcasing emerging talents in local culture and local authors. And we will see how in the space of a just few years they achieved hundreds of titles, a scientific committee, a team of editorial collaborators and a second editorial project called Oligo. The small publishing house finally has the numbers for a leap of quality and can now focus on its very own single brand store. The location is diminutive, in line with their habit of a way of never shouting out, is located in the historical artistic heart of the city, at the junction between Sant’Andrea, an Albertian jewel, and the flurry of shops belonging to the Benedictine monks, within a commercial tradition going back centuries.

People used to crowd this church for the sacred rites and swarms of pilgrims flocked on Ascension Day. Today the publishers have chosen to turn it into Mantua’s point of dialogue and cultural dissemination with a program of returning events. In the shop, in addition to the catalogue – ranging from the history of art to fiction, from foreign literature to children books, and which now is enriched by important contributions – will also feature some gadgets designed by Giulio and Giada, mastering the lexicon of great artists who once worked in Mantua, chiefly Giulio Romano. Cultural references for a city which promises to be the champion of a widespread way of life which still breathes beauty.

Oligo, the name of the new editorial adventure which represents a side of Rio Edizioni, literally means “a few things” (well made) and will be presented at Turin’s Salone del Libro. And to think that our guys only meant to do a few things!

by Mara Pasetti

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