From St. Mark’s Basilica to the world-class art collections at the Peggy Guggenheim museum and L’Accademia, there are plenty of traditional must-sees to fill your days in Venice. But one of the unconventional landmarks that should be on your list to visit is a used bookstore – Libreria Acqua Alta.
The bookstore is named because it sits along a canal and can be subject to flooding when the city experience “acqua alta.” These exceptional high-tides, combined with winds that usually arrive in October or November, can place the lowest parts of the city under several feet of water.
The Libreria Acqua Alta has become somewhat of an Instagram landmark in our social media crazed times. But in addition to being absolutely beautiful, it is a wonderful place to shop and support a local used bookstore.
Inside you will find a full boat filled with books of all kinds, and the occasional sleepy kitty taking a snooze among the stacks. Off to one side is a book-lined courtyard with a small table.
The main attraction is in the back of the store, where a staircase has been created out of old books. Climb the steps for a view of the canal and watch the gondolas pass by.
There are several books about Venice that are available for purchase in multiple languages. You can also find English and Italian used books on any subject. I found a used book for my young son and an art book for my husband the last time I visited.
If you are going to stop by and take photos, please consider buying something small as well in order to ensure the one-of-a-kind bookstore stays open for many years to come.
P.S. There are so many people and so many books crammed into this spot that they don’t allow backpacks. You would almost certainly knock something over if you were wearing one inside.
Libreria Acqua Alta
Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b
Venice, Italy (San Marco)
Open: Every day from 9:15 AM – 7:45 PM