Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice

posted in: Blog, Europe, Italy, Shopping, Venice | 10

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

It was the first time that a bookstore had made my bucket list.

Don’t get me wrong; I love visiting bookstores. There were several interesting bookstores that I stumbled upon in Italy and of course, I had to take a peek inside to check them out. Ever since I saw a few images of this particular bookshop pop up in my Pinterest feed, I immediately added it to our tentative itinerary. This bookstore ended up being one of the most interesting and unique book shops that I’d ever visited.

Justin and I meandered around the narrow alleyways in Venice to find the shop. Some of the cobblestone paths were so narrow, it was amazing that they could even be considered streets! Eventually, we turned a corner and there it was: the Libreria Acqua Alta.

My first impressions of the store were awesome, and this was before we even entered the building. There were two cats resting in comfortable places on either side of the entrance, posing as two kitty bookends. Neither seemed to mind some gentle scratches on the head. I’m sure they were used to getting lots of attention from store patrons.

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta

Translated into English, Libreria Acqua Alta means, “library of high water”. In Venice each year, the Acqua Alta occurs meaning that the water levels rise and in some cases, flood the streets. The bookstore could potentially be flooded and that’s really awful for anything made out of paper! This store is completely prepared for such instances by keeping the books in some practical choices of furniture. In one room, there are books piled into a gondola. In other rooms, the books are stacked into rowboats, waterproof bins, and even bathtubs!

The store has a mix of new and used books on a variety of subject matters and in several languages. This is the place to purchase books about Venice itself, art books, history books, maps, calendars, and postcards. I bought some beautiful postcards here for my collection. The owner, Luigi, was seated behind the front desk when we visited and he was very friendly and helpful. I’m sure he realizes that his shop is not only a bookstore, but a tourist destination where guests are enchanted by the store’s charming atmosphere.

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

A Bookstore With a View

At the back of the shop, we walked outside and noticed a staircase made out of old encyclopedias. Some writing painted on the wall instructed us to climb the staircase of books to the top. I don’t think I’ve ever walked up a stairway made out of books before! The short climb was definitely worthwhile, as we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the canal.

 

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

One of the rooms of the shop had a back doorway that opened up entirely to the canal at sea level. There was a little seating area where visitors could sit and browse through some of the merchandise. There was also a small tongue-in-cheek sign marking this doorway as a fire exit with a drawing of a person jumping into the canal. Thankfully, there were no signs of floods or fires while we were there.

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice, Italy

Definitely stop by Libreria Acqua Alta when you’re in Venice. This place is not only one of the most beautiful bookstores I have ever visited, but the most eccentric and fascinating as well.

loading map - please wait...

Libreria Acqua Alta 45.437969, 12.342307 Libreria Acqua Alta - Bookstore in VeniceLibreria Acqua Alta di Frizzo Luigi, Sestiere Castello, Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy (Directions)

Libreria Acqua Alta

Sestiere Castello, 5176/B, 30122

Venezia, Italy

Hours:  9:00am – 8:00pm

Libreria Acqua Alta bookstore in Venice, Italy

PIN this image to your Pinterest board for future reference! Click the top left corner.

What’s the coolest bookstore you’ve ever visited?

10 Responses

  1. Lyn aka TheTravellingLindfields
    | Reply

    I love the cats. Judging by your photos it is hard to imagine there is any system of organisation. How on earth does anyone find a book they want or is it just a browser’s heaven.
    Lyn aka TheTravellingLindfields recently posted…The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: Cairns to KurandaMy Profile

  2. Anna
    | Reply

    It is a cool bookstore indeed! Buzzfeed has made a list with 25 of them and I’ve only made it to one in San Francisco called City Lights bookstore. I also wanted to visit the Last Bookstore in LA but eventually missed it!
    Anna recently posted…Visiting Knossos: Europe’s oldest cityMy Profile

  3. Elizabeth
    | Reply

    You could spend a whole day in that book store! Italy seems to love books- you see them everywhere and unlike some places where books have become cheap- they seem to hold their value as second hand books. One of favourite bookshops is The Tattered Cover in LoDo,(lower Downtonw) Denver. It is an independent bookshop with some fantastic finds!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Ushuaia to Punta Arenas aboard the Via AustralisMy Profile

  4. Agness
    | Reply

    That is a very quicky, but also so cool place to see!!!! Never heard of it. Unfortunately, I am not the biggest fan of cats… 😛
    Agness recently posted…Vegan restaurants in TokyoMy Profile

  5. Ruth - Tanama Tales
    | Reply

    Libraries make my bucket list sometimes too. There is one in Downtown Los Angeles I want to visit (I heard about it recently). This one in Venice looks totally awesome. Hope the book do not get damaged by the high waters (that would be heartbreaking).
    Ruth – Tanama Tales recently posted…Yosemite National Park: Tioga RoadMy Profile

  6. RobRob@TravelLatte(.net)
    | Reply

    That is SO cool! I’ve heard of this bookstore, but never saw the “Fire Exit” before – that’s hilarious! What a great place to sit and read for a while. Or for many whiles! 😉 #WeekendWanderlust
    RobRob@TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…The Biggest Cruise Ship Ever, or How Big is Too Big?My Profile

  7. I’m disappointed we didn’t find this place while we were there this summer. The steps made out of old books and the view from the back look like an incredible spot!
    Amanda & Brian – Eat_Work_Travel recently posted…Beaches near Alghero, SardiniaMy Profile

  8. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    | Reply

    How did I miss this when we were in Venice? I would have loved exploring this bookstore. That staircase is fantastic.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Camping Jitters and Outdoor CookingMy Profile

  9. Luigi
    | Reply

    In this library i found out a secret..the gondola which is located at the center of the library is called: “The Francesca’s Gondola” commissioned in 1885 by countess Isabella in memory of her daughter whom she unwillingly abandoned

  10. Traveler
    | Reply

    Thanks for this post and the enclosed photo of the large, cute cat, who, by the way, was still happily around at the time of my visit to this bookstore this past April 30, 2017. May I note, however, that the meaning of “libreria’ in Italian in this context is “bookstore”, not “library”. Also by accident, my recent visit to Venice led me right onto the location of “Libreria Acqua Alta” as I tried to find Piazza S. Marco by following the ubiquitous sign of “Per S. Marco” (though I already read about this bookstore before I went to Italy). A gentleman sitting behind the front desk and his younger assistant soon helped me to find a bran new copy of Il Millione, Fabbri Editori (2016) — a very thoroughly annotated Italian version of the Travels of Marco Polo, which is not available in the U.S. For a fair price, I came away with a feeling of wonder as I continued my walk to S. Marco with this book and a “Libreria Acqua Alta” bookmark in my backpack, as given to me by the store owner — extremely happy.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge