Scarp de’ tenis celebrates 200 editions – and 20 years on the streets of Italy

Italian street paper Scarp de’ tenis celebrates its 200th edition this April, marking 20 years of offering its vendors a way out of homelessness and poverty.

Scarp de’ tenis editor Stefano Lampertico said the anniversary vindicates his team’s work over the last two decades.

“Two hundred issues of Scarp de’ tenis are a jewel box full of precious stories,” he said.

“This is an important goal that gives value to the choice made 20 years ago to choose street journalism as way of earning an income for people in need, and as a communication tool on unexplored topics.”

L: Scarp de’ tenis celebratory front cover features Dylan Dog, the main character in a very popular Italian horror comic series. R: Antonio Mininni

The special celebratory edition is devoted to 10 people that over the past who have embodied what the street paper means to its vendors and readers.

Antonio Mininni – who has been involved with the street paper since its very first edition – takes one of the starring roles in the magazine.

Starting out as a vendor, Antonio moved from the streets to working in the editorial office as a mentor for the current crop of sellers. He is soon due to retire – and you can read his story here.

Vendors have been at the heart of every issue of Scarp de’ tenis, said Stefano.

“This edition is a very big landmark,” he added “The street has been telling its stories for 20 years. That’s 20 years helping those people living in the street.

“The newspaper is not only a source of income for vendors but also an expression of dignity and autonomy for our vendors.”

But the obvious rewards do not mean that running a street paper is easy, Stefano admitted.

“Our low is the same every year, during Palm Sunday and Easter it is very difficult to sell the magazine,” he said. “However our high was issue number 197 released around Christmastime, more than 9,000 copies were sold in and around Milan, which is an all-time record.”

The cover of this month’s celebratory edition of Scarp features famous Italian horror comic character Dylan Dog, who has a long history with the street paper.

He is, according to Stefano: “Anti-hero, ex alcoholic, he always takes the side of those who are powerless. This character is an old Scarp de tenis’ friend.”

Dylan Dog was on the cover of the second edition of Scarp de’ tenis in 1996 – since then he has been there for the paper’s major landmarks: on the covers of issue number 100, number 150 and number 200.

Dylan Dog has even starred in an exclusive story for Scarp, which was set in the Caritas shelter in Milan. The story appeared in December 2014, to celebrate the magazine’s redesign.

Scarp de’ tenis joined INSP’s international movement last year. The paper is published monthly and is sold by 150 vendors all over Italy.