TREASURES OF ROMA (Esseci Italy)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 173
stickers: 360 (1-360)
starter pack: album + stickers 1-50 € 6.00 (from 13 February)
subsequent biweekly releases: 4 boxes (stickers 51-130, 131-210, 211-290, 291-360) € 6.00 each.
Albums and boxes distributed in newsstands in the provinces of Rome, Latina and Frosinone
Complete album set + 360 stickers € 30.00 from the end of February on https://www.allaricercadeitesori.it/

All the stickers lead to Rome. Important premise: we had already seen the proofs, there was already a collaboration to have this collection available also in Bologna, we would never have imagined finding our logo on the cover in the final version! A sign that our work is appreciated, in such a complicated period it is a panacea. Getting involved with Rome for Esseci is certainly a great adventure, doing it in this period without postponing to better times is applause. We like the general layout of the album, the themes are mixed, so you avoid finding, for example, all the monuments first and then the rest. This is not a symptom of chance, the album follows its own precise path, even the release of the stickers based on the numbering is the logical consequence.

A little advice, when you have the album in your hands, leaf through it and attach the stickers with the background of the many artists who have sung Rome: Venditti, Fiorini, Barbarossa, Manfredi and all the others. Close your eyes and it will be like eating a coffee granita (with cream!) near the Pantheon.

ROMA FIGU MUNDI, Esseci has treasured (forgive the pun with the title of the series of their albums) of the errors of the previous albums, in various aspects. The most marked criticism, especially on the “Vesuvian Treasures”, were the cuts of the stickers that did not marry correctly with the image below with unedifying results. In general it is very difficult to find the perfection between the stickers and the image below, the shaped ones are beautiful but, let’s say, complicated. The problem has been solved, all the stickers have the border, without this becoming a negative aspect when the album is completed, indeed, as you can see from the images, the final effect is successful. Another aspect was the enormous number of stickers, laudable in intentions, but impractical in reality. One of the unwritten rules, in our opinion, is that “the quality of a sticker album is not due to the total number of stickers it contains”. At 600 of the previous albums, with Rome we are at an optimal 360, almost a sticker a day. A standing ovation for the quality of the album paper, a policy that we hope will be rewarded, textured paper, a pleasure to the touch, no lines or other problems encountered in the productions of other, more renowned, publishers. The quality, if desired, exists. Well done Esseci!

Several illustrations in the album are bordered like the stickers to be attached, this gives an idea of ​​how monumental the collection could have been, with all the problems that would have ensued (including the final cost of the work). The choice to leave the border even for many illustrations is the right choice, they give a sense of continuity throughout the album, even on pages where the stickers are not present. When the album is completed, there is a very good general uniformity. We would have avoided pages completely without stickers, you could distribute the stickers in a different way so that almost every page had “something to stick”, but it is still a successful solution for the dynamics of the album.

An important aspect is the distribution policy, no packets but 5 outlets on newsstands with the stickers divided into blocks that allow you to complete the album without duplication. We love to open packets and swap, but it is undeniable that this is a solution “in step with the times” that unfortunately we are experiencing. Optimal solution also for the type of album, its educational path and also to meet families in limiting the total expenditure.

Within the album, a lot of space was given to Romanism, to those many aspects of Rome that perhaps not even the Romans themselves know fully. Many captions, perhaps too many, in some pages “overflow”, but we realize that leaving certain explanations halfway would probably have been worse. Taking into account that the didactic aspect is dominant, it is a product linked to the schools of Rome, in fact a production that is a cross between a sticker album and a guide for children; the captions, therefore, are good for us and indeed must be there.

A complete guide of Rome is almost impossible, the central part of the album “The history of Rome” suffers a little from a lack of space, in our opinion it could be both expanded and enhanced by the presence of stickers and not just illustrations. This, however, gives hope to possibly have in the future an album entirely dedicated to the history of Rome, eternal, epic and beautiful. However, it should be emphasized that the central part is only an addition to what the album already dedicates to the history of Rome, the first pages, for example, tell us about its foundation, the Lupa, the 7 Kings and every monument, theme or character told in the subsequent chapters has its historical place. History is a basic and ongoing part of the entire collection.

An important aspect must always be considered, the incredible graphic work that all Esseci albums have, if most of the stickers are photographs, the printed part is comic strips, unpublished, made for the occasion. Before we also defined the album as a guide for kids, much is due to this dynamic and cartoonish setting that makes reading very pleasant. All Esseci albums are an adventure in the time and places of Enea and Orazio the dog, it is impossible to define the final result “simply” as an educational album.

Rome is many things together, to live, to know and probably an entire life would not be enough to visit it all. The mix of the album is effective, we have dutiful pages dedicated to the great monuments and history of the city, to the most modern beauties such as Villa Borghese and to culture in the broadest sense of the term. Culture also understood as popular, here are the pages dedicated to the corners of Rome such as Trastevere, Garbatella, Parioli and the Castelli Romani. Culture also in the kitchen, the last pages of stickers are dedicated to Roman cuisine, from every era.

A leap into the world of sport could not be missing, the derby of the capital ends in a draw, one page each and two pages is dedicated to As Roma and Lazio, the Foro Italico, temple of Tennis and the Olympic stadium.

A feature of the Esseci albums is renewed, indeed expanded: the interaction of Enea and Orazio with illustrious names that guide them through the story. From San Pietro to the Emperor Hadrian, from Alberto Sordi (the two pages dedicated to the great actor’s gallery are beautiful) to Enrico Fermi, from Giordano Bruno (happy return, already appeared in other albums) to the poets Catullus and Trilussa, up to to many characters of today’s Roman daily life such as the traffic policeman or the host and of the past. Listing them all would not even be correct, we leave you the pleasure of discovering and recognizing them by browsing the album. The initiative with Solac milk is linked to the album, a collection of points to receive the bottle of Enea and Orazio and the memory cards, not an integral part of the album but a separate gadget, therefore not present in the various boxes or in the complete set. We avoided another problem with previous albums where some stickers to complete the album were distributed only with commercial products other than the packets.

Are we biased? It is useless to deny the opposite. We are biased first of all because we are always on the side of the stickers, the traditional ones, the beautiful ones to stick in an album; we are biased because we must thank and support those who in the new millennium still decide to promote culture through these little paper friends, understanding the social impact and the diffusion that stickers still have today, 2021. We are biased because teaching is the history and symbol of our beloved world, as much as football or cartoons, indeed they were born before. We are biased because we have in front of our eyes a quality work, always improving, but well done and with purposes that go beyond the already important role of albums of this genre, given that part of the sales will be destined to support school activities. Among other things, inside the boxes sold in newsstands, there are free tickets to guided tours of the capital on panoramic buses and the Tiber, a truly commendable economic commitment.

We are proud and happy to be partners of this beautiful adventure. Esseci started from the province (album on Latina, Irpinia and Ciociaria), passed through Naples (album on Vesuvian treasures), now it has gone up to Rome and who knows if next year it won’t go a few hundred kilometers further north to reach Bologna .. Spoiler? Anticipation? “You call them if you want, emotions” and projects. In stickers we trust, after all 🙂

(EN)