The story of how a bookseller inspired a nation.
The diary of a publicist-turned bookseller who left Florence to open a tiny bookshop on a Tuscan hill.
'Romano, I'd like to open a bookshop where I live.'
'Right. How many people are we talking about?'
'A hundred and eighty.'
'Right, so if a hundred and eighty thousand people live there, then . . .'
'No, not hundred and eighty thousand, Romano. Just a hundred and eighty.'
'Alba . . . Have you lost your mind?'
– Conversation between Alba Donati and Romano Montroni, founder of Italy's largest bookselling chain
Alba used to live a hectic life, working as a book publicist in Florence – a life that made her happy and led her to meet prominent international authors. And yet, she always felt like she was a woman on the run. And so one day she decides to stop running and go back to Lucignana, the small village on the Tuscan hills where she was born, to open a tiny bookshop.
With a total of only 180 residents, Alba's enterprise in Lucignana seems doomed from day one but it surprisingly sparks the enthusiasm of many across Tuscany – and beyond. After surviving a fire and the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the 'Bookshop on the Hill' soon becomes a refuge and beacon for an ever-growing community of people: readers who come to visit from afar, safe in the knowledge that Alba will be able to find the perfect book for them. A tale of resilience and entrepreneurship and a celebration of booksellers everywhere: the real (and often unsung) heroes of the publishing world.