The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - October 20

Italian commuters are set to get a dose of culture with their journeys as writers and poets entertain them with readings as they ply their way to and from work. The idea is part of a programme aimed at raising funds to distribute books and audiocassettes to the elderly and disabled.

It will get its first test run on a commuter train in the Bologna area next weekend. Three top Italian actors including stage and screen veteran Umberto Orsini will get on the train and read works by themselves and others. They'll also read in the stations, before and after the journey.

The train readings are new but the scheme, called Ad Alta Voce (Aloud), is in its third year. This year it will be extended from Bologna to the Romagna city Cesena and the Venice area. Critically acclaimed novelist Nico Orengo, well-known satirist Michele Serra and actor and short-story writer Roberto Citran are among the 80 authors whose works will be read in piazzas, self-run youth squats, prisons, trains and stations.

Ad Alta Voce is organised by a cooperative that operates in the northern Adriatic region.