Posts Tagged ‘LuccaLibri’

It is a sad fact that many of the small independent bookstores in Italy have closed: Panton’s and the Melting Pot in Milan are closed or are closing as I post this blog. The English Book Vaults in Catania has closed, as well.

Larger stores, carrying more options, e-books and the ever dwindling number of readers who seek English books in Italy have all conspired to pressure the smaller businesses out.

Below is a selective list of the bookstores offering books and magazines, in most cases, in English. These are a few of my favorites. For those of us who will be in Italy and who have a deep passion for books and reading, read on.


Paperback Exchange

I believe that my readers will have some understanding of what it is like to live as an expatriate in a foreign country. Florence’s expat community is very active and Paperback Exchange is at the heart of that community. What started as a jumbled  used book stores has become a delight to explore. Shelves are clearly and well organized, used student copies of many textbooks and reference materials are available in the store and the owner are always willing to order a special title for you.

Image result for paperback exchange florenceThe owners, Emily Rosner, from New York , Maurizio Panichi, a Florentine, and their son Jacopo operate their business with passion and great humor.

The store is located around the corner from the Duomo of Florence and just across the small intersection of Via dello Studio and Via delle Oche. A famous landmark delicatessen, Pegna, is across the intersection from the bookstore.

I have shopped in this wonderful store for many years. My first encounter was during my long summer of 2001 when I lived in the city to write my first book. Since then, I’ve followed them to Via delle Oche and have shared the store with many of our guests during our small group explorations of Italy.

Even if you are not in the market for a book while in the city, please plan on visiting one of the treasures of bella Firenze; Paperback Exchange.

Paperback Exchange

Via delle Oche, 4R


Tel: +39 055 293460



9.00 to 7.30 pm


10.30 to 7.30 pm.

Sunday: closed


Open Door Bookshop

Related image


Trastevere, my favorite neighborhood of the city, is a complex muddle of streets. This area of the city, on the ‘other side of the Tiber’ (Trastevere in Italian), was where Romans lived during the medieval era. As Rome fell to further demise during the Western Schism, this area of town was the ‘heart’ of the city.

Image result for open door bookshop Rome

Via della Lungaretta, 23

Today, the neighborhood is a bustling, active area for the arts, students at the universities in the city and for tourists who seek a more authentic sense of a ‘true’ Rome.

Amidst this jumble of buildings and narrow streets is the Open Door Bookshop. I sought convenient shelter there a few years ago during a deluge and felt immensely fortunate to have discovered this treasure of a bookstore.

Shelf after shelf of volumes are an enticement for hours of discovery. The shop keepers are always available to assist in any way.

Next time you are in Rome, take some time to discover this paradise for bibliophiles.

Via della Lungaretta, 23
00153 Rome Italy
+39 06 589 6478


Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:30AM – 8:00PM

Closed Sunday


The University of Bologna dominates this gorgeous city. San Petronio, the duomo and the many other fascinating sites attract a large number of English speaking toursits each year. For those who seek English books in the city, I have a few recommendations with limited in-stock books printed in English – as written or in translation. If you go to these beautiful stores, you can certainly ask one of the clerks for assistance (they all speak excellent English).

Image result for libreria feltrinelli bologna

Libreria Feltrinelli Via dei Mille, 12 Bologna

Libreria Feltrinelli: Huge bookstore, primarily in Italian with limited English titles. This location is about a six minute walk from Bologna Centrale station.

Via dei Mille, 12, 40121
Bologna, Italy
Tel:  +39 199 151 173
Monday 7AM–8PM
Tuesday 7AM–8PM
Wednesday 7AM–8PM
Thursday 7AM–8PM
Friday 7AM–8PM
Saturday 7AM–8PM
Sunday 7AM–1:30PM, 3:30–8PM

Mondadori Megastore

(The name says it all. This is a huge store, about five minute’s walk from the Piazza Maggiore in city center, Bologna)

Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00AM – 8:00PM  and Sunday 10:00AM – 8:00P:M


Cafoscarina, 3

This lovely bookstore carries the most diverse selection of English titled books in the city of Venice. Located conveniently close to the Ca Forscari University, the bookstore’s staff is very well educated in their selection of such books. You can also special order as you may wish. There are three of these bookstores in Venice, numbered 1, 2 and 3. Enjoy!



I wrote a blog post about this lovely small bookshop, located not far from the train station in Lucca, a few weeks ago. While the majority of books are in Italian, you may order books as you wish for pick up from the booksellers at the shop.

Pliney the Elder and his son, Boccaccio, Dante, Machiavelli, Keats, Browning, Forster and numerous others have written of Italy over the centuries. I believe that attention must be made to both the rich and diverse writing history of the country as well as to the places where the authors works are available to purchase, read and add to our personal libraries.



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So…you are staying in Lucca, have arrived in the city by train, or you have parked at the train station. Would you like to enjoy a unique break just outside the city walls-perhaps some exceptional pastries and fabulous coffee?


I recommend the perfect place: The LuccaLibri Coffee house and Bookshop.

Located less than a two minute walk from the train station piazza in Lucca (Piazzale Bettino Ricasoli) and only five minutes from the southern-most city gate of Lucca, Porta San Pietro, this place offers it all: great coffee, exceptional baked goods and a clean, safe environment in which to relax.

Wanda Martinelli, a dear friend and guide, introduced me to this special place in the spring of 2015. Every time since, when I visit Lucca with our small group tours or on my own, I stop in for a welcomed break. I have worked with Wanda for over fifteen years and she is, without question, the best guide in the area!

Next time you are in Lucca, regardless of circumstance, please give this wonderful place your business. You will not be disappointed!



Vialle Regina Margherita, 113

55100 Lucca

Tel: +39.0583.46.96.27

Hours: 06:00AM – 20:30PM (8:30PM) DAILY


From the train station, walk across the graveled piazza in front of the station. Turn LEFT on the sidewalk along the main ‘ring road’. LuccaLibri is on your left about 100 meters from the station piazza.

If you park at the train station in Lucca, exit the parking area toward, and across, the piazza, and you will find LuccaLibri on your left about 100 meters from the station piazza.

If you are inside the city walls, you can exit the Porta San Pietro, walk to your left to the pedestrian walkway at the traffic light and cross the main road. Turn LEFT and walk about 200 meters to LuccaLibri.

FB Page – LuccaLibri

The baked goods case and coffee prep area, on the right

Reading room at the Cafe

View from the cafe on a beautiful spring day


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