Venetian Books

September 17, 2010

One of the most surprising and enjoyable aspects of wandering the streets of Venice, was the discovery of not just one, but several delightful bookstores. Here are two of our favorites:

Aqua Alta Bookshop
The sign out front proclaimed it to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world. I am not sure I'd agree with that, but I would say it is one of the most unique. The space is crammed to the gills with books, boats, and bathtubs. Yes, boats and bathtubs. They aren't just decorative, they are also functional. With it's close proximity to a canal (see above pic), the shop lives up to its name of Aqua Alta (high water) and gets flooded several times a year. The friendly and flirtatious owner who speaks an impressive array of languages showed us a couple of pictures from previous floods. His creative solution: raise all of the shelving units off the floor and bring in boats and tubs where he stacks a very diverse range of books. It's a great spot for finding English books about Venice. In addition to feeding the fish from the back door of the shop, the kids' favorite discovery was the big black and white bookshop cat who was curled up in a large gondola surrounded by books and waiting to be petted. If you are a book nut and you make it to Venice, add this to your list of places to visit.

Acqua Alta bookshop
Opened every day of 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM
Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa (Corte Senza Nome), 5176 - Castello
30122 Venezia
Phone: +39 041 296 08 41

Laboratorio Blu
We stumbled upon this charming children's bookstore while exploring the Jewish district of Venice (which by the way is a great place to take kids...the main square was full of families playing soccer, riding scooters, etc). It is a cozy and inviting space filled with an interesting assortment of children's books (in England and Italian). They also have a nice selection of games and wooden toys/puppets. We ended up spending quite a bit of time here as the kids were happy to take a break from walking (we were, too!). We ended up purchasing a great family guide to Venice, Viva Venice. Highly recommend it as a guide for the city but also as a nice souvenir.

Laboratorio Blu
Cannaregio 1224, Ghetto Vecchio
30121 Venezia
Phone: 041-71-5819

If you want to really turn your trip to Venice into a bibliophile's dream, here is a more complete list of Venetian bookstores. I am tucking it away for future trips to Venice. Whenever we travel, I always try to get my hands on books related to our destination. Here is a list of books that we read before and during our time in Venice. This is mainly a kids' lit list, so I would welcome adult reading suggestions related to Venice. I can now see why so many well known authors have visited and written about this intriguing and watery city.

This is Venice
Gabriella's Song
Gaspard on Vacation
Viva Venice
The Thief Lord
Carnival at Candlelight

Daughter of Venice
Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook
Bravo! Zan Angelo!
se7en said...

We love Zoe Sofia's Scrapbook... Oh wouldn't a wander through some Venetian book shops and a look at all the lovely toys be just wonderful!!!!

Wanderluster said...

What an excellent goal for visiting a city - finding its bookstores!

Camels & Chocolate said...

That photo is adorable--love it!

LindyLouMac said...

I cannot walk past a bookshop without going in and these sound so inviting.

Emily said...

have been really enjoying your posts about your venice trip!

Susan said...

I love the open door looking out onto the canal. I would have found it impossible to resist stepping into the water just to peer out. Beautiful!

Karen said...

Love the photos! Read Lucia in the Age of Napoleon, by Andrea di Robilant. It's partially set in Venice-- and makes me think of you!

See if this link works

Dana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dana said...

I think you've summed up my kid lit collection of venice!

For Venice Mystery Fiction try these:

Rainy day here. . .hope the sun is shining on you all :)

Kellie said...

Dreamy! I can't imagine a lovelier way to see a city than via the bookstores and the gelato shops!

likeschocolate said...

Thanks for the reading list!

Dawn said...

Love that photo too... that shop sounds like it belongs on a fairy tale.
Have you guys read the Binkerton books? Kids. Time travel. World history. A little humor... okay a lot of humor mixed in. Fionna loves them.

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