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But it’s not just the dramatic decline in newspaper views that is sounding the death knell for many kiosks.

Historic centers such as Rome, Florence and Venice are now increasingly focused on tourism, with low-cost airlines and accommodation booking sites such as Airbnb seeing a surge in visitor numbers.

A visitor from Manchester or Melbourne is unlikely to want to pick up the latest issue of La Gazzetta dello Sport or Corriere della Sera.

Florence announced in October that it would ban new short-term housing rentals in its historic center in a bid to make more housing available to local residents.

The number of Airbnb apartments in the city has jumped from 6,000 in 2016 to more than 14,000.

long working hours

Another factor that may be contributing to the decline of kiosks, many of which have a distinctive octagonal shape and are painted a deep green color, is the demanding demands associated with their operation.

“The hours are really long,” Polacco said. “We open at 4:30 a.m. and don’t close until 8 p.m. during the summer. Some owners decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.”

Across the Tiber River in Rome’s Trastevere district, Alfredo Bonelli agrees. “I wake up at 4 a.m. every day and try to open at 5 a.m. no matter the weather,” Bonelli said, looking out through the hatch of his octagonal green kiosk.

“This is a job that requires physical presence seven days a week. We’re open 12 hours a day.”

After completing his morning shift, Bonelli hands off the job to his 46-year-old son, who mans the kiosk for the rest of the day.

Kiosks are largely a family affair, with young Italians increasingly reluctant to follow in the footsteps of their mothers and fathers. In addition to long working hours, financial compensation is also considered inadequate.

“This is a big sacrifice that many young people don’t want to make. It’s sad to see kiosks closed and abandoned,” Bonelli said.

Kiosks diversify to survive

The only way to buck this trend and hang on to survival is to diversify, said Andrea Innocenti, president of Snag, the union representing newsstand owners.

“We need to stop thinking of kiosks as relics of the past, like phone booths from the mobile phone era,” he said earlier this year. “We have a future.”

As part of its diversification efforts, many kiosks now offer more than newspapers and bus tickets.

As Bonelli spoke, a young Italian man approached him and asked if he sold masks. He did so and gave one to him for 1 euro.

Amidst the changes, there has also been a clear change in the ownership of many kiosks, with Bangladeshi immigrants seizing the opportunity and buying them up.

The kiosks they run tend to stock mostly tourist-oriented items like plastic centurion helmets and selfie sticks, but they also sell a few newspapers.

According to research conducted by Snug, nearly half of kiosks and newsstands now rely on sales for more than just newspapers and magazines.

It found that one in three Italians goes to their local Edicola at least once a week, spending an average of 10 euros.

Although the future of the industry remains uncertain, the pace of closures has slowed slightly over the past two years, offering a glimmer of hope that kiosks may remain a staple of everyday life for millions of Italians. ing.

Despite the economic woes of Italian newsstands, the majority of those interviewed in the survey, 96 percent, believe that kiosks are important centers of neighborhood social life. Losing those who hold on will be a blow.

“Getting to know the community, seeing the children grow up, and building trusting relationships with people,” said Bonelli, wearing a down jacket and black fingerless gloves in the cold of a damp December morning. I can do it,” he said. “You have to be prepared, but it works for me.”

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