Isola has multiple personalities and a strongly creative character, which has found unique forms of expression in the Milanese scene over the years.
It is no surprise that this district is the home to Kasa dei Libri, a broad and forward-thinking project launched in 2013 by Andrea Kerbaker’s passion for reading and literature. It is located at Largo De Benedetti 4, where 35,000 volumes gathered across three apartments welcome visitors who wish to spend some time amongst stories of every genre. Just ring the doorbell and the doors to this universe of pages open up, transporting you far from the frenetic world of nearby skyscrapers to a corner of calm and reading.
The Isola district seems to have a particular passion for books, which are not only found in homes and apartments, but also on the streets. One example is Piccola Biblioteca Libera, founded in 2017 alongside Casa della Memoria on the initiative of Marco Salomon, and located between via Confalonieri and via de Castillia. This miniature library is composed of a wooden structure with tables and compartments, where you can sit and read a book, borrow it or bring another to leave. Here, reading space is a collective and shared asset, in the same vein as the urban book crossing phenomenon already developed in Northern Europe. As always happens when individuals are unable to perceive the value of something, the Piccola Biblioteca Libera library has been vandalised several times, and sometimes become a location for inappropriate meet-ups, but it has stood its ground and over recent years multiplied, spreading to other sites in the area.
While the district’s historic bookshop, Isola Libri, is relocating to Dergano, Spazio B**K in via Lambertenghi has resisted (and existed) since 2012. This is an independent bookshop with a workshop area, specialised in illustrated books for every topic and language imaginable. But it is above all an idea factory and place for people to meet, read and tell stories, with a special focus on visual learning.