Walls covered by books and book towers of French literature, comics, history books and so on. This bookshop is already haunting the internet and considered the most beautiful bookshop in the world, the Libreria Acqua Alta.
When I heard the first time about this bookshop – or better, about it’s book stairway, the gondola and the bathtubs full to overflowing with books – and read different opinions on this libreria on the internet, with people going crazy about this book paradise, an association between Zafon’s „Shadow of the wind“ and the Libreria Acqua Alta formed in my head: A mysterious place, hidden amidst narrow alleyways, filled with literary masterpieces (old and new) only waiting to be discovered. Just like Daniel (the main character in the “Shadow of the wind”) I was curious about finding my own treasure and to give it a new home.
In the tiny front court we were welcomed by one of the adopted cats – or watchcat ? – and only a few steps ahead we finally found ourselves in the “most beautiful bookshop in the world”, where the owner (Luigi Frizzo) indicated us immediately the book stairway in the backyard. We passed the brimmed gondola, reached the other side of the bookshop … and there it was: Like a beanstalk searching for light, the stairway stretches heavenwards to permit visitors to catch a glimpse of the canale on the other side of the brick wall. A real highlight! But being a book lover, I have to admit that I was of two minds: At the same time, I was fascinated and … saddend by the damp and rotting books.
After climbing the book mountain and turning back to the firm Venetian ground, we entered another time the little libreria where we were surrounded by the above mentioned book towers (next to a very curious fire exit). Even though it doesn’t seem like it at first sight, the little bookshop is sorted into different genres: here fantasy literature, there history books and German literature, there (in the bathtub) biographies of known international artists. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really in the mood for rummaging as I was (visually) overwhelmed by the sheer number of books and not having the possibility to bury myself in one of the pieces of writing without being disturbed by the other visitors due to the lack of space: The corridors are large half a meter (or 20 inches). Combined with a steady coming and going of visitors (due to the increasing popularity) … well, I think you know what I’m talking about. 😉
Nevertheless, the Libreria Acqua Alta is a real Venetian curiosity and definitely worth a visit.
I have to confess that I wasn’t purchasing anything at the libreria even though I never leave a bookshop without a „souvenir“(Well, what can I say? I was never good at playing Jenga … 😉 ).
Sestiere Castello, 5176/B (Calle Longa)
Opening hours: 09am – 08pm
How to get there
Line 22, 5.1, 4.1, 5.2., 4.2 – Stop: Fondamente Nove
Line 1,2 – Stop: Rialto