Exploring Hidden Venice!
If you know Venice, you also know that San Marco Square is “NOT” hidden – so after seeing all of the tourist spots we wanted to go where the tourists WEREN’T.
When Alex and I were in Venice Italy, we saw so many amazing sights that the city is known for:
This last shot is the iconic “bridge of sighs”, and if you get there at “golden hour”, the sight is truly magical – oh, but as you can imagine, we weren’t the only ones there:
Yes, Venice Is Crowded!
We expected massive crowds in San Marco Square and other iconic locations, but did you know that just beyond it are some incredible hidden streets that Alex and I discovered thanks to a guided tour of the area!
There are so many tiny streets and canals that showcase classic architecture and churches – but they aren’t part of the main Venice thoroughfare…
We took at tour that showed us hidden streets and courtyards just minutes from some of Venice’s most crowded canals…which led us to a place we’d never heard of:
Welcome To Libreria Acqua Alta!
One of the most fascinating places we saw was a legendary library – yes, LIBRARY!
The terrific travel website Atlas Obscura describes it this way:
The self-proclaimed “most beautiful bookstore in the world” is composed of a number of over-stuffed rooms stacked wall-to-wall with books, magazines, maps and other ephemera. Due to Venice’s constant flooding however, these picturesque piles are all placed inside bathtubs, waterproof bins, and in one room a full-size gondola. The name itself even means “Book Store of High Water.” When the local waterways do rise to fill the well-known store, it can rise inches off the floor, which would destroy any other collection. The store’s whimsically cramped atmosphere is even reflected in their “fire escape” which is simply a door leading directly out into a canal.
This incredible bookstore is literally packed to the ceiling with books – and since Venice floods regularly, they do indeed store books in many unique ways, like inside this Gondola!
The store is packed with all kinds of books, like this one, which I can only assume is a slice of Italian “Giallo”, also known as “pulp fiction”:
Out back, right up against a canal, there is a stack of books that you are literally told to walk on:
Follow The Book Steps!
These are real books, permanently set in place to be a love letter to literature and a walkway to the top of the bookstore’s back wall – which is indeed up against a canal…
So I did…yes, it’s a “photo op” that everyone took part in, and yes, there is a bit of a musty smell out there, but how much fun was this place?
This is just one of the incredible adventures we had in Venice…all part of our trip on the Venice Simplon Orient Express Train:
Here’s an overview of this incredible journey on a legendary train:
Let me know if you’ve ever been to this iconic bookstore!