Some years ago Simone Bonechi launched a Tolkien reading group / Smial in Florence. It faded away after a while, but Simone relaunched it last month and sent the following. I include it here in lieu of a Hall of Fire insert in Amon Hen:
Florence, September 15th, 2015
As I promised, here is my report of the first meeting of the Reading Group. We were ten people: two high school students, one university student, two middle aged men, three of the men who manage the Reading Point of the local library where the meeting took place, my wife and me. All people were interested and, but one, everyone had read the book and some also the Hobbit and the Silmarillion. We had a pleasant and interesting chat about Tolkien, Tolkien criticism in Italy, Great Britain and America, the Lord of the Rings in general, some of its meanings and its roots, etc. I presented the Reading Group, explaining what is all about and showing some of the books of Tolkien criticism and research tools that are available in Italian, together with the 50th anniversary boxed set of the book, complete with W.G. Hammond and C. Scull Rearder’s Companion (my prized possession). I even suggested that we could for a new smial of the Tolkien Society (actually, a revamp of my Lothlorien smial). All were very interested and agreed to meet again on October 12th, having read book one of “The Fellowship of the Ring”. We will intesify the advertising of the Reading Group, so as to gather a bit more people, but I am well satisfied of the general atmosphere.
I will keep you informed of the development of the matter.