The Acqua Alta Bookshop

I've always loved bookshops, but I've never fallen in love with one quite like with Acqua Alta. This is no regular bookstore, it is another world entirely. Piles of books reach 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... so, if you hear a boat with an engine, lift your feet up quickly. The gondolas aren't a problem though - they drift by with just a splish and a splash but no mini tsunami.

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.

  1. Home
  2. Secrets of Venice
  3. Acqua Alta Bookshop

You might like these

  • The Italy! Mamma Mia! Blog

    The ItalyMammaMia Blog keeps you up-to-date with all additions and changes to the www.italymammamia.com web site. Subscribe here.

  • Shopping in Venice - The Guide

    Shopping in Venice is wonderful but you can get lost in a maze of souvenir shops. You'll avoid that if you know where to go. Discover the best places to shop - from markets to designer stores.

  • Christmas in Italy? Everything You Need is Here!

    Planning a Christmas in Italy? I have everything you need - advice on Italian Christmas traditions, insider tips, weather, great value accommodation picks and a guide to the best restaurants.

Please Book with Us...

Maria here, if you enjoy my site and Facebook page I'd love your support.

Simply book your next trip anywhere (not only to Italy) with the search box below or with any of the hotel links on the website.

I promise you'll get the best deal on accommodation available and the income we receive from HotelsCombined helps us to:

  • Stay independent and to keep bringing you the best of Italy.
  • Never have to accept money from hotels directly; that way we can share only those we genuinely love.

Recent Articles

  1. 9 Secrets of Southern Italy

    Grab your bucket list... I've 9 Secrets from Southern Italy to share with you. Can you believe places like this even exist?

    Read More

  2. Ricotta Gnocchi Recipe. Little pillows that melt in your mouth!

    My Father would make his Gnocchi recipe with me when I was a child. I remember we would sit around the kitchen table together after he had prepared the

    Read More

  3. Best Veneto & Venice Restaurants - Cooking as Good as my Mamma's

    These Veneto & Venice restaurants don’t cater for the tourist trade but to locals and you won’t find many of these restaurants in any guide book . What you will find are excellent restaurants

    Read More

  4. Need a Good Restaurant in Padova?

    So you need a good restaurant in Padova? Well, we've discovered just the place: a little family run restaurant serving traditional dishes in the heart of the old town.

    Read More

  5. This too is Italy

    Read More

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.