The LibreriaAcqua Alta has been defined by BBC as the “only underwater bookstore” and is for sure, the most fascinating book shop in Venice.
This is due to the fact that is absolutely unique. Many prestigious lists such as BBC, La Repubblica, La Stampa, placed it among the first ten most beautiful bookstores in the World.
Boarded over a shoreline, it is open with every weather condition even though, as its name suggests, it is often exposed to the phenomenon of high water.
It is hard to find something similar in the world. Every day it is visited by hundreds of people loosing themselves in the enchantment of its volumes, many of which wore out by the salt.
The owner, Mr Luigi Frizzo, welcomes the visitor in this magical place, which has now become his house.
I asked him to tell me about the genesis of this place which suddenly appeared to me as something unreal. “More or less 15 years ago, after having been around the world, I decided to stop in my beloved city and to create a bookstore that, ever since the visual impact, could impress and emotion, and make us live again the history of Venice”.
It is curious to imagine how could it be possible to keep this place open when the high tide comes, but Mr Luigi was not caught by this natural phenomenon, typical in Venice. He thought to use, in place of the canonical furniture, gondolas, tanks, canoas and boats as undoubtly special shelving. They do have an expositive function but at the same time they protect thousands of book from the water.
The bookstore is situated in callelunga Santa Maria Formosa, just a few steps from Piazza San Marco, and is one of the most incredible and charming stores in Venice. Books are characters and, they have been turned into real objects of furniture, as the old encyclopaedias, the ancient volumes and the timeless tomes, turned into amazing staircases.
Inside they sell new and used books, placed in order but pilled, and souvenirs as well.
Digital catalogues do not exist. Everything inside Acqua Alta recalls an ancient setting, where every part is experienced, typical of the Serenissima.
When you ask for a specific book you will be helped by an assistant who knows every single book and its location by heart.
This is how a piece of art was born, from a bookstore. This is why Libreria Acqua Alta is for me a must for anyone who visits Venice.