libreria Acqua alta
libreria Acqua alta
4.5
Speciality & Gift Shops
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
About
Hidden along Venice’s side streets behind an unassuming facade, this unique bookstore is home to a treasure trove of new and used books creatively housed in gondolas and bathtubs. Climb the staircase made out of damaged books to enjoy an idyllic view, and don’t miss out on taking a photo at the fire escape, which opens out to the canal. Also, try to spot one of the many resident cats the bookstore has adopted. Liberia Acqua Alta is a popular attraction drawing large crowds—visit right at opening or closing times and on weekdays for fewer crowds. – Tripadvisor
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Castello
Castello is the largest of the six sestieri (districts), and the only one not facing onto the Grand Canal. More than half of Castello is situated within Arsenale, the naval base, which occupies over one-fifth the area of Venice. This gentrified maritime neighborhood feels busy but casual. Castello’s side streets are laid back, with small boats lining canals criss-crossed by laundry. Semiannual exhibitions add a strong artsy current to the Arsenale area. Via Garibaldi in Castello, with its shops and bars, has one of Venice's rare straight and wide boulevards. When a large ship turns around the Lido to enter the Giudecca Canal, the startling sight creates an illusion that it will run aground right on Via Garibaldi! Families treasure Giardini near the island's tip, green with rare trees and grass, and Riva degli Schiavoni is a popular spot for Venetians to take a stroll to watch the sunset.
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See what travelers are saying
  • Footprints673658
    7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Incredible library for true book lovers
    I visited Libreria Acqua Alta yesterday and it was a one in a lifetime experience. The personnel was courteous and extremely kind. They helped me retrieving books by a particular author I asked for and I would love to visit again. Amazing collection of books for real book lovers.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written August 3, 2023
  • AllegraHampshire
    60 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A treasure trove in Venice
    A little treasure trove. I loved my visit to Libreria Aqua Alta. I love books, and I love history - it's perfect. Yes, it's chaotic, but if you expect it to be you won't be surprised. Piles of books everywhere - fabulous!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 29, 2023
  • Marylin M
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of a kind destination.
    It was great. We can’t go to Italy without going to Venice. It is a one of a kind experience. So fun and full of history. Should have booked our entry to San Marco cathedral earlier but the wait was not all that bad. The Ghetto tour was worth going to and also the Hidden Venice walking tour was great.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 3, 2023
  • Sinatralis
    Rocky River, Ohio1,168 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting Stop but go early
    We found it! You can miss it for sure as it is tucked away in an alley for sure. It’s small and has some great finds for books and post cards. Unfortunately with this on social media it is so crowded you can’t even enjoy walking through it to really see what it has. Go early to miss the crowds if you want to soak it all in.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 7, 2023
  • Norm the Nomad
    Australia1,228 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Quirky. Interesting.
    We visited the Liberia Acqua Alta bookshop. It is known as being pretty quirky, an offbeat book shop with vintage titles, a gondola and even a bathtub in the shop … and inhabited by resident cats! And yes - the cats were there.
    Visited December 2022
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 5, 2023
  • Will
    United Kingdom43 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Must
    A must if you’re in Venice. Might not look like much at first but captures the spirit of the city well. Cats, books - the books being on a gondola in the middle of the shop. And actually got a fair bit of history as well with it.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 27, 2023
  • EgyptophileEngland
    Burnley, United Kingdom216 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A very popular place!
    We were already in the area so decided to go again the the liberia Acqua alta. As it had been the first time we visited, it was packed with tourists and we were delighted to see there were even more 'attractions'. A basket of very cheap (what seemed to be) recycled books as well as the calendars and postcards plus a good selection of new books. We were also delighted to see one of the cats sitting majestically by the till and he/she even allowed me to give it a little lickle on the cheek. Delighted again to be in the place!
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 28, 2023
  • carolyne h
    Port Stanley, Canada50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    go early
    This place got horrid reviews so i was skeptical but i thought it would be to cool to miss. I made sure I got there just as they opened. Raining so very few people. If you love books, this is the place and books in many languages. Staff was very nice and helpful
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written March 2, 2024
  • Sarah L
    15 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    We saw this place on social media before our holiday to Venice and decided we would add this to our list of places to visit. It did not disappoint. It was a little crowded, and there was a queue that you had to follow; which made it a little difficult when trying to look at the books and postcards on offer to buy but overall very different and many books and if your like us and a avid bookworm. Do not miss this place.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 9, 2024
  • J L
    60 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous
    Fabulous book shop, you could spend hours there if it wasn’t for poor behaviour by tourists. They push and knock and often have little respect for the books. The owners are lovely people and the black cat is gorgeous. Please everybody that visits…… be respectful and kind to books and others.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 25, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,715 reviews
Excellent
1,648
Very good
694
Average
188
Poor
79
Terrible
106

Helena
79 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Family
My mum and I were so excited to go to this bookshop, only to be massively disappointed. The interior was lovely, don’t get me wrong, however considering this bookshop is famous for its cats - there was not a cat in sight, which I also don’t mind as I have worked in animal care and fully understand that they won’t want to be in the building all the time.

The problem is how incredibly busy it was inside.

When you go to a bookshop you want to have a relaxing experience and lose yourself in the world of literature, however we were rushed through the shop with barely an inch between each person. Because of this you could hardly see all the attractions in the shop, and frankly I wanted to leave as soon as I entered. They had staff manning the door, which was pointless in my opinion as they had no system in terms of counting how many people were in the shop at a time to make sure there was social distancing and actually time for people to go through. I was going to buy a book but it was so busy inside I couldn’t even get to the tills.

No wonder there were no cats. They would’ve hated to be in there. No personal space whatsoever. Very rude staff too, rushing people through the shop.

Genuinely do not bother.
Written April 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

j1093
Poole, UK36 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Couples
We spent approximately 3 minutes here. A school tour filled the place and we couldn’t look at anything due to the queue going through the entire place. It is very special but you’d need to go very early to enjoy it
Written September 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

R M
6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
Felt like it was a waste of time - we went out of our way to find the bookstore but it was incredibly crowded and there was no way you could browse and look at anything. The crowd moved in a line from the entrance, looped around inside the store and back out again. You had to keep moving. It was like filing past artifacts in a museum or something. Might be better in off season when it’s not so crowded and you could actually stop long enough to see what’s inside the bookstore.
Written June 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

yasmineyvonne
Hitchin, UK119 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Couples
I hate to say it but I was disappointed by this. I’m such a book lover and though this was going to be amazing. It’s pretty much just like a museum… books piled up high everywhere in no real order, it’s a bit dirty and crowded. You queue to get in and there’s not much room to browse. You go out to the back where someone is managing the queue for the book steps, we got told to climb and not stop. So I got to look over the wall for about 5 seconds. You then leave a donation and leave… really not sure what the fuss is about this, I wouldn’t go out of your way to go here like we did, you’ll be disappointed.
Written October 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bergbroeder F
not found23 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
This quaint bookstore is in almost every visitors guide and therefore completely crowded. That’s really a pity because they really have nice stuff fir reasonable prices. The staff does their utmost to accommodate as many people as possible but maybe it’s in their interest if they start working with a waiting line and don’t let too many people in at once.
Written August 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa R.
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
We stopped in this store yesterday with our children while on a guided tour of Venice. We have been in Italy for a week and have repeatedly noticed how warm and friendly everyone is. Until now! The staff was completely disgusting and rude, yelling at people to hurry up and making faces if you lingered too long. The store is a tiny, crowded mess which makes it difficult to do anything in a hurry. In the back of the store there is a little outdoor area with a staircase made of books. One man (not sure if he’s the owner) came out and barked at people that they could only take one photo and leave. And then they have 2 exits - if you purchase something you are permitted to walk out the front. If you don’t they force you to exit into a dark alley. Venice is a beautiful, unique and special city filled with wonderful people. Go explore everything else and skip Libreria Acqua Alta!
Written February 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EgyptophileEngland
Burnley, UK216 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
I agree with what everybody has said about this incredible place. They manage it very politely and to be honest, when we went it was a slow queueing snake working a way through, out to the area where sure footed folk climbed to the top of a pile of books, took a 'Selfie' or had a colleague record the moment, climbed down again (after being reminded by a pleasant enough seated chap that it was obviously a 'one way system = and contrary to what one Reviewer said there is no requirement to make a donation'!) Beyond him, you'll discover there are just two alleys which lead to either the tills or the exit. If you expect to find a conventional bookstore, you'll be disappointed. If you were expecting to browse you'll won't be able to. If you were expecting to discover or purchase unusual books, you'll be disappointed. If you are a bibliophile, you may be horrified by the condition of some of the books. If you read that they have resident cats, you may be unlucky. When we visited we never even saw the tail end of one disappearing - though, truthfully, no self respecting cat would sit patiently putting up with the hordes of passing gawkers (and, no doubt 'photographers') disturbing their reveries. If you don't have expectations, you won't be disappointed. I read about it, fancied it, went and was not a bit disappointed. I read many of the Reviews, they all seem fair and accurate to me but they tell you more about folk then about the Liberia Acqua Alta. I've seen some far less fascinating stuff under the guise of art at the Biennale!
Written November 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maddy
Gold Coast, Australia64 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
As avid book readers and cat lovers, I have heard wonders on tiktok about this bookstore. Lines were out the door when you arrive, they have two areas designed for paint for instagram photos (the gondola and the book staircase) both of which were really run down. We chose not to buy anything after the staff were talking at people it is a book store and to pay up before taking photos. Severely disappointed in the service as the people in the gondola at the time were a young family hoping to get a sweet family picture.
Written May 26, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel&Amy
Rotorua, New Zealand310 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Quite a magical little shop with a really beautiful aesthetic. Climbing up the ruined piles of books outside was fun and everyone seemed to have a good time with it. Unfortunately though, I think the experience of this bookshop would be ruined for the locals by the extreme number of tourists who flock to see piles and piles of books.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas Liam
Montreal, Canada382 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
This place felt more like a weird museum than a bookstore. Once you enter the store, you feel as if you're on a train and you can't get off and actually enjoy the thousands upon thousands of books that surround you. Instead, propelled by the staff asking you to move along and the people behind you expecting you to walk faster, you end up walking through the store in a sort of pre-planned path, only to end up at the exit without having looked at a single book.

It was by far the strangest experience I had in Venice. I didn't even feel like they wanted me to buy books. There is only 1 entrance and 1 exit, so once I realized I had been escorted to the exit, I would have had to walk around the block just to get into the store again.

I would avoid this place. There are many great bookstores in Venice that actually feel and act like bookstores. They're also WAY less crowded. Unfortunately this place seems to be a casualty of its own success. They'd rather be a glorified souvenir shop and museum than an actual bookstore.
Written May 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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libreria Acqua alta - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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