Who doesn’t love Venice? It is said to be as romantic as Paris, and, if you think about it, is there anything better than a stroll along the canals in a gondola, with the gondoliere humming “O sole mio…”. Well, if you ask me, there is something else that any book lover should do in Venice: visit Libreria Acqua Alta… a bookstore, of course!
As I may have already mentioned I come from Verona, a 2 hours train journey from Venice, so I have visited the city quite often. Last time I went there though, I decided to include in my tour this amazing bookstore I had read about, and I am so glad I did! To be completely honest with you I am also glad that I did not go there on my own: with my sense of direction, I would probably still be trying to find my way among the canals. If you had been to Venice and ventured a bit further than Piazza San Marco and Ponte dei Sospiri you know what I am talking about: all the canals look exactly the same and Google Maps does not seem to know exactly where the bridges are!
Anyway, back to the bookstore… the first thing I saw when I finally arrived was a really small door with, in front of it, a table full of books, the sign “Welcome to the most beautiful bookshop in the world” and a massive cat wandering among the books. It seemed like a good start. I entered and… wow!
Imagine stacks and stacks of books, any genre you can think of, any author you can dream of, anything you can desire, all piled up together in bathtubs, canoes, boats, an eclectic mix of old household items used to save them from “Acqua Alta” the water problem that has always been threatening Venice. And, when you think you have seen everything, here it is, a real gondola, full of hundreds of books.
It is with no doubt one of the most picturesque bookstores I have ever entered. It is so different and original, that focusing on books is actually not an easy task. When you manage to do it, though, you will appreciate atlases, dictionaries, classics, all of them mainly second-hand books. There is also a good selection of postcards and posters about Venice and Italy in general.
Do you want to know what I bought? Well, a book that I had read many and many times, but in a different language: The Little Prince… written in the dialect of my region! In Italy every region, every city has its dialect, it’s a proper – even if not official – language that we use instead of Italian. It is pretty common to speak a dialect, but believe me, books are very rare, especially famous ones, translated in dialect! One of the best days of my bookworm life!
Here the address of the bookstore to add to the map of your next trip to Venice… you have plenty of time to organize it!
Libreria Acqua Alta, Calle Longa Santa Formosa 5176 B, 30122, Venezia (VE)