The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World

In October, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my birthday in Italy. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Como, Bellagio and Turin… and it was probably the best 11 days of my life, even though right now it almost feels like one beautiful dream.

Venice was my favourite. Words cannot describe how charming it is, from its water canals to its narrow cobblestone streets and old houses and gondolas… I was and still am absolutely in love. Our hotel was right on the Grand Canal, and we had the most amazing view from our balcony.

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The golden sunrise casting its rays on the rooftops and water.

We went off the “beaten path”, so to say. Though we explored the typical tourist sites like the Doge Palace andΒ Piazza San Marco and most of the popular bridges, we found ourselves trudging through empty alleyways and stepping inside the loveliest shops, filled with carnival masks and calligraphy pens and inks and… sigh.

We got lost there several times, reaching dead ends and having to backtrack to find the right route. We found a small shop that sold the most delicious pasta-to-go and sat down to eat it on a bridge, warming our hands and chowing down our food.

Possibly the most delicious pasta I've ever had.

Possibly the most delicious pasta I’ve ever had.

We got caught in some rain and had to take shelter in crowded corners with other people who had ventured out without umbrellas. And we stumbled upon a bookshop proclaiming to be theΒ Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World.Β 

And you know what, it just might be.

You are greeted by a doorway overcast with trees. There’s a bargain “basket” hanging from a tree branch, and a wheelbarrow laden with good deals. You walk past all that into what is literally book heaven. Shelves upon shelves stacked with books, from floor to ceiling. The air heavy with the smell of books, old and new. The shop owner sits behind his table, and there’s a big ol’ cat sitting on the counter. Tried to snap a picture of her but she wouldn’t look at me, haha.

In the middle you find an actual gondola sitting there in the middle of the shop, filled to the brim with books, with two mannequins standing guard. There are just stacks… everywhere. There wasn’t a wall that wasn’t covered by books. I was feeling very, very overwhelmed.

Don't you just want to dive in there?

Don’t you just want to dive in there?

Then we stepped into one of the shop’s courtyards and… well, damn. This is really a “picture-is-better-than-a-thousand-words” situation so I’ll just leave this here:

This is probably my most favourite picture of the entire trip.

This is probably my most favourite picture of the entire trip.

Have you seen anything more beautiful? I mean… this was probably the most postcard-worthy sight I’ve ever seen, and I just wanted to sit among the books forever, but of course there were many other tourists who wanted their turn too. Still, I ended up finding another lovely courtyard that wasn’t receiving as much attention.

A blissful sigh around every corner.

A blissful sigh around every corner.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find any English booksΒ there, and seeing as I don’t know Italian, I was forced to walk out of that place empty-handed. Now I wish I’d bought one as a souvenir. Any book from these piles and shelves would have done!

Two months later, and I still dream about this country. Venice pops up most of the time. I hope to go back again some day. I still have stories to tell about this trip, but I’ve been so busy lately. Plus, since I came back I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep. I swear I feel like a zombie most days. Just on auto-pilot the entire time.

But ah well.

Have you been to Italy before? And if you have, did you visit this bookshop? What other beautiful bookshops have you been to? I want to make it a point to check out bookshops in every country I visit! πŸ™‚Β 

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23 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World

  1. Wowza, what a great find! Don’t see too many bookshops here anymore. I bet it was spectacular. I went to Italy a little over 15 years ago, and Venice stands out to me with its telltale canals and Old World charm. I worry about Venice structurally, so I’m glad to hear it is still in working order!!

    • I know what you mean about its structure! During my time there, I kept thinking, “Oh god what would happen if this place sank?” It’s such a beautiful city and I’d hate to see it go. 😦

    • Haha. Well, these books were quite unreadable. With Venice’s overabundance of water, they’d gotten very… moist and kinda mouldy. It is gingerly that I managed to pull myself up there.

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