Postcards of Venice | The Libreria Acqua Alta

Libreria Acqua Alta (high water bookshop) is a charmingly eccentric book shop named for the flooding that afflicts Venice when water levels in the Venetian lagoon are high.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

The entrance, in a little courtyard with no name, is lined with tables and postcard stands, and probably at least one of the cats that consider the shop home, curled up on a pile of sun-warmed books or tucked into in a shaded nook.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

Inside is a warren-like maze of rooms, each one crammed with new and second-hand books, many of them displayed inside an old gondola, a canoe, a bathtub, and several wooden rowboats.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

The nautical theme continues with an old ship’s wheel, a life-buoy ring and a wooden barrel. Heavily-laden, higgledy-piggledy bookshelves, boxes and crates line the walls from floor-to-ceiling. A few dusty chandeliers complete the look.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

In a tiny back garden, piles of decrepit old (and no doubt water-damaged) books have been stacked to form a stair case – a note on the wall invites you to climb up for a pretty view over the tall brick wall. Before you get upset, these are the kind of books nobody buys anymore – encyclopedia’s and other huge reference tomes.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

In another outdoor alley space, more towers of books and a round metal table and chairs.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

Back inside, and there’s an open fire exit (straight into the waters of the canal), with a comfortable armchair and bench for reading in the sunlight.

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

As well as a wide range of books, the shop also sells postcards, prints and posters, sheet music, maps and calendars and there’s even an Erotica shelf of X-rated books and risque items, including a jug that I might well have bought had I trusted that I could carry it home safely.

Libreria Acqua Alta
Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa (Corte Senza Nome)
Sestiere Castello 5176B
30122 Venezia
Open daily 9:00-20:00

Save for later:

Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats Libreria Acqua Alta, a wonderfully eccentric bookshop in Venice (c) Kavey Eats

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
45 Comments to "Postcards of Venice | The Libreria Acqua Alta"

  1. Pujarini

    I could just live in this bookshop. So many books! I guess my love for books is now evident πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  2. Nicola

    This is absolutely brilliant!! Eccentric indeed – I love that they put books in a bath!! To be honest this is not the chic picture I imagine when I think of Venice, but it looks like a great place nonetheless. My husband would be in heaven here!

    Reply
  3. Mason Masini

    This Is Lovely ITALIA with Sweet VENICE Everything is Very Uniq and Interesting Viva ITALY , GOD Bless Warm Blood people of ITALIA ?

    Reply
  4. Amrita Sen

    Books, books and so many books! Omg, I would love to visit this place. i would climb up the wall to get a look at all the books. This definitely seems like my kind of place.

    Reply
  5. Amar Singh

    Wow. Such an interesting and different post. This little shop is so meaningful and it is enriching place to visit if in Venice. Love the quirky element of so many things all in a small place yet a great feel to it. The Gondola in the shop a great touch. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  6. Honey

    I love Venice, and I love bookshops! I could possibly spend a day browsing and skimming through some books here… although storage would make me feel OCD all over!

    Reply
  7. Janine Thomas

    Oh wow! I wish that I had known about this bookshop when I was in Venice. I would have loved to have spent some time browsing. The wackiness really appeals to me.

    Reply
  8. Steven Muhammad

    Wow. What is this places. There have so many book. That is book fire or book library. I see this type places first time in my places. That is the best places and best book store in the world.

    Reply
  9. Ha

    This bookshop looks so cute! I always love looking at old books to see the effect of time. The cat at the entrance is really lovely. Would love to pet him.

    Reply
  10. Medha Verma

    I love the book shop and the little cat that welcomes you to it! There are just so many books, strewn around, its overwhelming. The interiors of the shop are pretty cool, with the stone walls and the nautical theme. Also, the name is quite creative!

    Reply
  11. Rhiannon

    Oh I came here when I lived in ForlΓ¬ a few years back! I always recommend it to friends visiting the area but didn’t remember the name of the shop. Now I do so it’ll be way easier to recommend in future πŸ™‚ It’s a fab place to visit, right?! I could spend s full day getting lost among the pages!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Aah lovely, yes it’s a cute place to explore! Glad you now have a name to give your friends!

    Reply
  12. Clarice Lao

    Such a cute cat. Glad that the owner has kind enough to let it stay. The choice of display is very unique and interesting. I must see when in Venice.

    Reply
  13. Yukti

    I loved the concept of high water book shop so that book does not get affected during flooding of Venice. I loved the picture of cute cat over books. Concept of keeping Books in Gondola, bath tub and wooden row boats is truly unique and depicts the ambiance of Venice even inside the shop.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I am curious about the books that are on low shelves though, I wonder if they do a re-organisation / move ahead of the high waters?

    Reply
  14. Tala

    I love books. This is something I would enjoy. Hope there are english books for sale. If not, I would still buy a book for souvenir. Great post!

    Reply
  15. Cat

    That’s such a cute bookstore! It is funny to see books stored in canoe and bathtub. That seems like a great place for book lovers to find second-hand books!

    Reply
  16. Hannah

    I’m a huge bookshop fan – so absolutely love the look of the Libreria Acqua Alta! Although the librarian in me would shiver at the layout πŸ˜‰ There is something magical about bookshops, and this one certainly looks like a treat to visit!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Haa, I think the owner and staff do actually know where the various sections are, but for us mere mortals it’s a mystery! I did spot cookbooks near that bathtub full of comics by the way!

    Reply
  17. Bhusha

    Awwwww. That cat!!! That cat made my day right now…
    Book displays in canoe, bathrub and row boats?? Whoa! That’s really quirky!
    A very interesting place indeed.

    Reply
  18. Sandy N Vyjay

    I have read about the Acqua Alta, but missed visiting it during our trip to Venice. The place looks so intriguing and unique. As a lover of books, this place definitely appeals to me. I am fascinated by how the books are stored, in old boats and gondolas and of course the most quirk part is the staircase of books. This must be quite an interesting experience in Venice beyond the Gondola rides.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes, we have been to Venice three times and not bothered with a Gondola ride, though we did find a great alternative this trip, post coming soon!

    Reply
  19. Lord

    Wow, bookworms will really love this place! I’ll check it out when I go to Venice πŸ™‚

    Reply
  20. Efthimis Kragaris

    What a great discovery! I love bookshops and Libreria Acqua Alta seems so unique and original. Especially in the way it presents its products, like in a bathtub or inside a traditional gondola!

    Reply
  21. Kartik

    Kavita- The place looks very charming. I love looking at olden literature that says what people in the region read. Thumbing through old newspapers, cartoon mags or even Encyclopedia with handiwork of the locals, is a great way to spend time!

    Reply
  22. Shaily

    What an interesting bookshop! I love the nautical theme and the rustic interior of the Venice Liberia Aqua Alta. This is indeed a paradise for book lovers like me. Books in wooden rowboats, old gondola, canoe, old ship’s wheel, barrels, bath tubs and even book stairs – wow! such a fascinating place to explore. Your pictures are very beautiful! I would love to explore this place myself someday. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  23. Holly

    I wouldn’t think to visit a bookshop but it is really cool. I like that it open out to the canal.

    Reply
  24. Ami Bhat

    Such a lovely find. I can almost smell the books through your pics and description. I could spend some time here just picking those books and reading a few. Especially those comics which are easily finished there πŸ™‚

    Reply
  25. Urvashi

    Oh my god the bath! And the cat all curled up. This place is too cute. I wish I’d found it when I was in Venice.

    Reply
  26. Claire

    What a charming bookshop! The cat looked lovely and cosy sleeping on the books and it certainly is interesting to have the books being placed inside the gondola, canoe, bathtub, and the several wooden rowboats.

    Reply
  27. Erin

    Ah yes, we stopped in last month when we were in Venice. So cute. My son loved the book steps at the back!

    Reply
  28. Hazel

    This is the coolest and most eccentric bookshop, we stumbled across it recently and it was amazing! I felt a bit sad for the books that were made into stairs- I love it when books are kept pristine! This is a really helpful guide to a super cool shop

    Reply
  29. Kathrine

    I love finding little bookstores like this in cities that I visit! I find them so charming to explore. I realy like the picture of cat on the books!

    Reply
  30. Cherene Saradar

    what a crazy little bookstore! I wish I had known about this when I was there last summer. Love the pic with the kitty:)

    Reply

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *