Venice is known for canals, St Marks Square and its mysterious narrow passageways, and through the latter you can make some unique discoveries when you venture off the main path. I did just that and I stumbled upon this unusual bookshop in the area of Castello. The faded sign out the front simply said “Welcome to the most beautiful book shop in the world”. I certainly thought that it has the most beautiful location in the world, so quite intrigued I went in to explore. What I found inside this most unusual book shop in Venice was extraordinary – a confusion of books of every kind, on any topic and from every era. Now this is not your average book shop, so if you are looking for the latest novels then you should look elsewhere, as it’s more of an experience and one where you can get some great photo opportunities. If books fascinate you then you will appreciate the Libreria Acqua Alta and it’s amazing organised chaos of books!
The display table out the front not only displays a collection of postcards, maps and books but also the resident cats who enjoy sleeping amongst it all! Not only was I looking for books, but I found myself looking for more cats too! The cats certainly didn’t seem bothered by the tourists as they roam freely throughout the shop. Take time to look at the post cards as some are new but others may be old rarities and a bargain at one euro. There are also some nice reproduction posters as well.
A gondola sits proudly in the middle of the shop and serves as a quirky display table … what else would you expect, it is Venice after all!
And then you come across a couple of bath tubs, boats, chairs and tables with hap hazard displays of literature. There are books everywhere from floor to ceiling and in no particular order, although the pleasant owner would probably know every nook and cranny! Most books are stored up high and according to the owner the lower ones can be moved quickly when the high water comes and floods the floor.
This must have been the only chair that was not used as a book shelf! Positioned strategically overlooking the canal, if you wanted to, you could sit and read a little, maybe ponder the craziness or simply admire the view.
A courtyard full of knowledge! Old encyclopedias are stacked on top of each other framing the walls, along with other quirky items.
Towards the back of the courtyard you will find the steps to higher knowledge … well steps that contain knowledge! The encyclopedias double as steps which you can climb to get a view of the canal down below.
Once you are at the top of the encyclopedia steps and peer over the wall, you will see this gorgeous view of the quiet canal at the back of the shop. The little arched doorway on the right is the canal entrance to the book shop.
Libreria Aqua Alta
Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa (Campiello Del Tintor) | 5176 – Castello, 30122 Venice, Italy