Books and Boats! The unique beauty of Venice’s Libreria Acqua Alta

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You may have already heard of the Libreria Acqua Alta Venice — the beautiful Venice bookstore with the books in gondolas and other boats. But if you haven’t– or if you just love to read about lovely bookstores again and again — read on!

The Libreria Acqua Alta Venice

One of the most unique and beautiful bookstores of the world is in Venice. And it’s a little bit like Venice in its lovely disorganization.

Venice is sinking, the water level is rising, and water is, obviously, no friend to books. The Libreria Acqua Alta (translation: High Water bookstore) has handled Venice’s flooding during the high water season by placing its many tomes in gondolas, bathtubs, and boats.

Stacks of damaged books are used for decoration, particularly at the back of the shop, where they form a staircase leading to a viewpoint. The spot is an incredibly “Instagrammable” place, so it can get crowded during the peak of the tourist season.

The shop displays a combination of new and used books. However, the overwhelming impression is of the type of disorganized used book store I love — for the atmosphere, not necessarily for the selection. It’s a great bookstore for browsing if you’re not sure what you want or just for the love of visiting a place that’s one of a kind.

And every bookstore needs at least one bookstore cat. Like Venice itself, Libreria Acqua Alta has many cats (though this interesting post explains why there aren’t as many cats in Venice as there used to be). My daughter and I loved petting a small kitten resting amid the stacks.

You can find more photos of the Libreria Acqua Alta on their Instagram.

Where is Libreria Acqua Alta?

Click the map image above or here to go to the page with the interactive map.

The Libreria Acqua Alta Venice bookstore’s address is:

Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy

But good luck finding it with just that. Get on Google maps or ask a local for directions!

You can also read my other post (update coming in the near future) about travel tips for visiting Venice.

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Books and Boats! The unique beauty of Venice’s Libreria Acqua Alta