I had been travelling to Brazil on and off for 20+ years. Usually I brought my own books purchased in airport departure shops, or bought a quickie in the hotel shops.
Suddenly in 1997 I found my self moving to Brazil and setting up my company there. My office was located one block from the livraria. Wandering around at lunchtime I came upon the Leonardo da Vinci bookstore. FANTASTIC!! I had accidentaly come upon a bookstore that carried 'serious' titles (and fun) in English, French, Spanish and of course Portuguese (German and Italian too).
If you are interested in history, nature, politics, art, or scarce and out of print books - they have them. If they don't have a book you want, they will find it for you.
A bookstore has personality and character. Livraria Leonardo da Vinci is a booklover's oasis in Brazil, it has a staff of knowledgable and helpful people. They always had infinite patience with me as I browsed looking for 'something', but not sure what.
If you are a tourist you are going to be next door! The Livraria Leonardo da Vinci is next to the Opera House/Municipal Theatre. You are one block from the Museum of Fine Art, the National Archives and the Belle Epoch tea room "Colombo". Two blocks away you can pay your fare and hop aboard the tram that will take you into the historic hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Yes I know that your hotel is in Ipanema/Copacabana and the concierge will recommend a bookstore "close by", don't make a poor choice, go where you will enjoy finding what you want.
Ratings are necessarily relative. I have been a book buyer in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Bogota and Mexico City. This bookstore more than holds its own. If you are not sure what book you want, go there and browse, I bet you will find something that will keep you up well past your bedtime. Maybe while you are at it, you can bring me a book as a present ;-))))
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