In 1882, the town council granted Ulisse Sicola, a Mantuan citizen, a permit to open a newspaper kiosk in Piazza Sant’Andrea, in the very centre of town, near the famous church designed by Leon Battista Alberti. A few decades later, in 1925, he was asked to transfer his kiosk to Piazza Canossa – where it still stands today – “so as not to interfere with the triumphal architecture of the Basilica”. The archival documents indicate that at that time the kiosk underwent some “maintenance”, though no specific details are available.
The structure – made of wrought iron, sheet metal, wood and glass – rests on an octagonal masonry platform and includes wainscoting in the lower section to support a sequence of neo-Gothic mullioned windows. The roof features an embossed metal spire.
Having obtained protected status from the authorities, in 1992 the Mantuan Delegation launched an appeal that enabled FAI to purchase this little gem, which was languishing in a sorrowful state of neglect. Thanks to a careful restoration process, its original commercial function was re-instated – albeit now selling flowers instead of newspapers – to the delight of the Mantuans, who could once again savour a wonderful and intact piece of the city’s heritage.
In 2004, it was again cleaned and re-painted as part of an operation entitled “the Newsstand rediscovered”, and its electrical system was upgraded to comply with modern standards.