A Visit to the Floating Bookstore of Venice

Have you been to the most beautiful bookstore in the world?


Libreria acqua alta, the self-proclaimed most beautiful bookstore in the world, really does live up to its name. This beautiful bookstore in Venice, Italy may not technically “floating”, but the entire city is.

Due to the occasional flooding of this canal-side bookshop, stacks of books are stored in gondolas, bathtubs, and other boats to keep the books from being destroyed. The effect is mesmerizing. The small shop is packed with books in every nook and cranny -- in fact when my wife and I went for a visit, there was a line just to get inside!

The owner has also taken the time to create some fun instagram worthy backdrops. My favorite was the book staircase, which is built outside the shop. Climb to the top and you get a beautiful view of the canals.


Another outdoor room features walls of books, providing you with a great backdrop for photos. By far the favorite spot in the bookstore was the gondola parked outside in the canal, where you could sit for photos.

I enjoyed the photos I took but more than that, I enjoyed simply sitting in the gondola, listening to the water lap against the boat and watching people cross bridges along the water.

venice 6.jpg

But it’s not just a spot for photos. There’s a huge selection of books, including some in English. They also carry beautiful bookmarks, postcards, and other similar items that make for great souvenirs for your book-loving friends.

The floating bookstore was definitely a highlight of my trip to Venice, and one of my favorite bookstores I’ve ever visited. What’s the most unique bookshop you’ve ever been to?

More Book Tourism

The Used Bookshop That’s Bigger On The Inside

The Used Bookshop That’s Bigger On The Inside

There is no shortage of used bookstores in the country, and each of them have their charms. From the small, niche bookshops covering only psychology to the Half Price Books littered across the nation, there’s plenty of used bookstores to go to.

And then, there’s Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Large long bookshelf with books
Maze of bookshelves crammed with books

My wife and I visited a friend in Arkansas over Labor Day weekend, and this bookshop was one of the places she suggested taking us. But she didn’t warn us that we would be walking into the most impressive bookshop I’d ever been to.

When you first step inside it doesn’t look that different from your typical bookstore. It’s a bit chaotic, there’s books from floor to ceiling, and everything is organized with labels on the shelves.

But then, as you look down one of the aisles, you realize the store keeps going. And going.

Rows of bookshelves

It’s actually a maze inside. It’s possible to get turned around in this bookshop. That’s because the layout does this very unique thing where it splits off into different rooms, which sometimes are only accessible by taking a strange one-way route.

For example, I took a right at a shelf, followed immediately by a second right down some stairs. Suddenly I was in a mini branch of the bookshop, with rows of bookshelves and small gaps between shelves where I could see the main corridor. But there was only one way to get into the section I was in, and it had been hard to find. You can literally spy on people shopping from these little nooks.

Bookshelves surrounding a small stage

I spent the first half hour just wandering around the bookshop, discovering all the nooks and crannies before I even started to browse. Pretty much any topic you’re looking for is covered somewhere in this shop.

The shop also carries a wide selection of rare and out of print books near the front of the shop. These books are absolutely beautiful. I love old books, so I got a lot of joy out of staring at them.

Plus there’s all these fun literary cartoons and odd book advice taped to the walls and shelves.

How to open a book printed paper

There was something just a little bit magical about this bookstore. It felt like one of those places where an adventure could begin.

Bookshelves and handwritten signs

Basically, if you ever find yourself in Arkansas, stopping in Dickson Street Bookshop is worth the time. I could have spent a full day there if my group allowed it. I hope someday a couple copies of my novels find their way into the shelves of this beautiful bookshop.

girl with a coffee surrounded by bookshelves