Book Detail

Publisher: Giunti Editore

Format: paperback

Via Ripetta 155




Paperback with flaps

14 X 21.5 cm


Partial English translation available

Giunti’s candidate for the Strega Prize 2015


  • An autobiography of the generation of 1968, told by one of the best narrative voices in Italy today.
  • Clara Sereni’s relationship to politics, and especially to political commitment, is a complex and ever-present characteristic of her writing.
  • “I was putting my house in order; the world was falling apart … In the end houses don’t fail, unlike the hopes and dreams of that time…”

Via Ripetta, one of the central streets in Rome, is located in a kind of golden triangle between Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, and Piazza Venezia. Looking at a map of Rome Via Ripetta isn’t always clearly marked, just as the time period covered in this novel was often out of focus. The narrative covers the years from 1968 to 1977 when it all began as a libertarian utopia, where freedom might mean going hungry and living hand-to-mouth in a house that was falling down around you. The author lived out her desires, and fought against her father and her bourgeois family on all fronts including where she lived, how she lived, and even to be able to participate in the activity most important to her, singing, which happened to convey and involve many of the ideals and activists of the day.

It is a history seen from the point of view of one who was close to the events without always being in the center of things, and who could therefore testify, even painfully, to an unclouded memory of those days. This is a first-person, micro-narrative account of years where many details have been unearthed but not always truthfully. The author affirms that terrorism was not the logical conclusion of what began in the year 1968 though many believe it was; rather it was a dramatic verdict of defeat for the hopes of many, a piercing loss for those who believed in certain ideals and who had worked hard to nurture them.

“…striving to define women’s language and writing characterizes Clara Sereni’s work as a whole. … The house has always been associated with women and domesticity—a closed, private space that deprives them of any active participation … But in Sereni, the house and the taste of food create the background to a transformation from being to becoming … the house is a dwelling and network of emotions that hides the mystery of the past…” – Eugenia Paulicelli

“Throughout this book, which is anything but sweet, there is a sense of affectionate capacity of understanding of what happens and who has caused it, but without a trace judgement.” – Furio Colombo, Il Fatto Quotidiano


Clara Sereni is one of the most important contemporary writers in Italy. Her mother, Xenia Silberberg, was the daughter of Russian revolutionaries and her father, Emilio Sereni, originally from an upper-class Roman-Jewish family, was one of the leading figures in the Italian anti-fascist movement and in the Communist party. Many of her literary works present autobiographical themes related to feminism, Jewish identity, and commitment to social and political change. Her novels include Casalinghitudine (1987), Manicomio primavera (1989), and Il gioco dei regni (Giunti,1992), a finalist for the Premio Strega in 1993. Her most recent novel is Una storia chiusa (2012). She has also published literary collections regarding disabilities and diversity, such as Mi riguarda, Si può, and Amore caro and has translated Stendhal, and Balzac. She has received the Premio Sociale dei Lettori di Lucca, Premio Marotta, Premio Grinzane-Cavour and Premio Nazionale Letterario Pisa literary prizes.