The Acqua Alta Bookshop

I've always loved bookshops but I've never fallen in love with one quite like with this one. This isn't like a regular bookshop at all, it is more another world entirely. There are piles of books reaching the ceiling, cats are everywhere and there's a bathtub in the middle of a room.


It gets a little stranger the more you explore.

One room has a real gondola in it and then you'll see a sign saying fire escape... which leads straight into a canal.

Sometimes you'll feel you've entered a surreal world where everything isn't quite normal but it is all wonderful.

So how about we take a look around? Okay, let's go...

Exploring Acqua Alta

It doesn't look like much when you turn into the street where the bookstore is. In fact, if it wasn't for a few books and postcards outside the front door, you would thing that you were in the wrong road. 

The address, if you'd like to visit, is 5167 Castello and it is five minutes walk from Campo Santa Maria Formosa. I'd suggest you head to Santa Maria Formosa and go from there. It's the easiest way to find it and both the Church of Santa Maria Formosa and the Campo (which means square in English) are well worth seeing too.

Acqua Alta Book Store

The minute you walk inside though you know that you've arrived in a bookstore unlike any other. One of the first things you'll see are the cats, they seem to be everywhere! Apparently they are all family and that is why nearly all of them are black or black and white. 

Cats in Venice

Then you walk farther into the shop and see a gondola...then a bathtub. Now you know that you've entered into a bookstore like no other.

Inside the Acqua Alta Bookstore
Gondola inside the Acqua Alta Bookshop
Bathtub inside the Acqua Alta shop

There are lots of fascinating corners to explore but I tend to like the "fire escape" part of the shop best which you can see in the photos below. 

During acqua alta (high tide) this part of the shop often floods and that's where the name of the shop originates. Still, on a lovely summer's day, nothing can beat sitting on a chair by the canal and reading a book. Be careful though, when a boat comes past the water often rushes in wetting your feet if you don't lift them up quickly enough.

Fire Exit - Venetian style
Gondola passes by the window
The Window ChairThe Window Chair
Magical Acqua Alta

One last thing, if you do visit please buy a book or two. There are a number in English and even if there is nothing that really appeals buy something anyway to support this great shop/institution. The elderly owner is struggling to keep it going.

› Acqua Alta Bookshop

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