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Libreria Acqua Alta: the Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World

A serendipitous moment led me to discover this charming and unique bookstore in Castello. I had just returned from spending part of the day on the island of Burano and was hurriedly walking in the direction of the church of Santa Maria Formosa. My trip was winding down and I had only a couple of days left in Venice and there were so many places I had yet to see. Coming from Fondamenta Nuove, I was walking in the general direction of the church when I saw a couple of kids playing in a courtyard that had a large table full of books. On top of the pile of books was a sleepy tuxedo cat.

The kitten opened his eyes as soon as I approached him.

A friendly man standing by the door waved at me in a welcoming gesture. As soon as I stepped inside I saw a gondola smack in the middle of a room overflowing with books. How cool and eccentric is that, I thought.

I walked around looking at stack after stack of books in many different languages.

I asked the man (whom I assumed by now was the owner) permission to take pictures and after giving me an effusive sí, he told me not to leave without taking a look at the back. The back is where one can see the canal and the water gently splashing against the building. I thought I had taken a photo of the canal behind the bookstore but I couldn't find it.

One of the many resident cats.

I left in a hurry to try to make it to S. Maria Formosa before the doors closed. Got there a bit late but I wasn't too disappointed. The libreria left a happy feeling in me and a desire to return and browse through the stacks of books. I have the bookstore bookmarked on my Google map and in case I forget the address, I can always look it up in Annie's fantastic Venice Shopping Guide.

note: I'm not blogging about Venice in a chronological order. I think it would be fun and interesting to do the entries with random topics, like I did with Morocco. Plus, I still have to organize and label many of my photos, in particular those taken inside the churches.

Comments (17)

I love this store! When I went in December, he was still cleaning up from the big December 1 flood but it looked like he had most of the books high enough off the ground. None of his cats were there and when I asked him where they were, he said they had wandered off in search of a warmer store (it was a very cold day!). He's such a nice guy.

Oh my - I'll be staying at the convent again for the fourth time, in six months - in Castello so will hope to get to the bookstore. :)

I've been to this book store and loved it! Thanks for reminding me of my time in Venice again.


Wow, this looks like such a cool store -- I love the gondola! What a beautiful tuxedo kitty, so sleek and well-groomed.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, this is such a great post. I love your photos of the sleepy cat and the ones taken inside the bookstore. And I think the Gondola to hold his books is so cool! I'm not sure that I have read that particular article about shopping from Annie yet. How did I miss that before my trip? Next time for sure and I wouldn't mind visiting this cool store. I'm looking forward to reading more about your time in Venice Maria! Thanks you.


Maria, as always you make me want to be somewhere. Maybe we'll head to Venice again for a couple days this summer--I need to go to this bookstore. Thanks for taking us with you.

These are great photos Maria. They really make me want to visit and explore the store. We missed it on our trip. The cats and gondola really personalize the post.

Thank you everyone for your comments. I'm glad to see that many of you also love this bookstore. It is a charming and unusual place in such a beautiful setting. I smile each time a look at the photos.

How cool having a gondola overflowing with books. I'd like to visit this bookstore one day.


I love the kitties, Maria!

The bookstore is definitely on the to-visit list!

You may have already seen this but just in case, a great story about rescuing one of his kittens from the balcony of an adjacent building:


Thanks you for the link to the sweet story on the rescue of the kitten. A story like this could have only happened in Venice.

I love bookstores. I also missed this bookstore when I was there. I will have to be on the look out for it next time I visit Venice. How cool to have books in a gondola. I hope his cats are ok.

Girasoli, did you see that there’s a book about gondolas in the gondola? I want that book! :)

Do you mean the book called Gondola? How cool! Didn't see that book before.

I am now staring to think about Venice instead of Stresa! It is late though to make reservations for July...but am getting frustrated with what I am finding for hotels.

Girasoli, how exciting to hear that you're thinking of returning to Venice. I'm happy for you but concerned that you say it is already late to find lodging. What kind of problems are you finding, hotels already booked or rates too high?


It's amazing!

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