Most Beautiful Bookstores: Venice’s Libreria Acqua Alta
If you’re planning a trip to Venice, there’s a unique gem you can’t afford to miss: Libreria Acqua Alta. Whether you’re a bookworm or like exploring charming and unusual places, this bookstore with book steps will blow you away.
Libreria Acqua Alta is a perfect example of how to use human ingenuity to face the challenges of natural phenomena (namely Venice’s high tide floods). So it’s no wonder it’s included in every list of the world’s most beautiful bookstores and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about this famous library in Venice.
Libreria Acqua Alta: Not Your Typical Bookstore
Venice can keep you busy for days with landmarks like St. Mark’s Basilica and superb art collections like the ones at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and L’Accademia. However, there are also unusual little gems that you should be sure to visit too. And Libreria Acqua Alta is undoubtedly one of them.
This used bookstore is located along a canal that can be subject to flooding when the city experiences high tides. In fact, its name, Libreria Acqua Alta, literally translates into “High Water Bookstore”. These tides can reach even several feet, invading the lowest parts of the city.
Libreria Acqua Alta has found ingenious ways to cope with high tides and protect its books. As a result, this self-proclaimed “most beautiful bookstore in the world” is jam-packed with books, magazines, maps, and other items piled in bathtubs, waterproof bins, and even a full-size gondola.
In addition, these picturesque stacks offer rare photo opportunities, making Libreria Acqua Alta an Instagram-worthy site.
The store’s quirky atmosphere is also reflected at the back, in the staircase made out of old, no longer usable books. From the top of the stairs, you can enjoy a view of the canal and watch the gondolas go by.
Everything You Need to Know About Libreria Acqua Alta
If you want to visit Venice’s famous library, its address is Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176/b.
Here’s how to get to Libreria Acqua Alta:
- From Campo Santa Maria Formosa, take Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa until you reach the bookstore’s entrance at Castello 5176/B;
- If you’re in St. Mark’s square, it’s a 5-minute walk from Piazzetta dei Leoncini through Calle Canonica.
Once you get to Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo, turn left on Calle Castagna until you reach Ruga Giuffa, which leads to Campo Santa Maria Formosa and Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa.
- If you’re in Rialto, it’s a 10-minute walk from Campo San Bartolomeo to Sotoportego della Bissa. From there, continue straight on to Salizada San Lio.
Towards the end of Salizada San Lio, turn left on Calle del Mondo Novo, which leads to Campo Santa Maria Formosa. From there, take Calle Santa Maria Formosa, which will lead you to Libreria Acqua Alta.
If you prefer public transport, you can take the vaporetto:
- line 2 and line 1 from Rialto
- line 1 from the station
- and if you’re in St. Mark’s square, line 5.1 and line 2 from Piazzale Roma.
Libreria Acqua Alta is open every day from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm.
And if you’re looking for a book in particular, the owner of Libreria Acqua Alta, Luigi, will be happy to help you find it. Indeed, he has a unique method for finding anything in this sea of books: his fantastic memory!
Visiting Venice and Its Treasures
If you come to Venice, Libreria Acqua Alta is well worth a visit. But the truth is, this unique city has so many things to see apart from its famous landmarks. You’ll be spoiled for choice by art, nature, architecture, and craftsmanship.
If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Venice, don’t miss Venezia Lines’ services and deals. Thanks to Venezia Lines ferries, visiting the Queen of the Adriatic has never been so easy!
Plus, you have plenty of options to choose from. For example, you can opt for a family or a group package or join the VIP Club to get exclusive benefits. Venice and its treasures, including Libreria Acqua Alta (listed among the world’s 10 most beautiful bookstores by the BBC), are waiting for you.