Alta Acqua – Hidden Gem of Venice


If you’re a book fiend like I am, then you need to visit this hidden gem in Venice, Italy. Nestled within the winding alleyways is a beautiful store where gondolas are filled to the brim with books, and there’s a staircase in the back with books stacked so high with you can literally walk up it. Off the beaten tourist track, the Alta Acqua is hands down my singular favorite spot in Venice.

front of a hidden book store

Alta Acqua  is such a hidden gem that you might accidentally walk past it.


Once you’re inside, you won’t know where to look first. Books abound, and the gondolas and bathtubs actually serve a very important purpose: when it floods, they keep the books safe.

acqua alta books piled to the ceiling
My sister, Sam, feeling especially short compared to the books surrounding her.

Books are piled all the way up to the ceiling. Literally.

man and his cat in bookstore

This little gem surprised me with even more spunk than I caught at a first glance. Initially, it seemed like someone had accidentally left a sweater behind. Upon a closer look, I realized that there were cats nestled in amongst the books, blissfully sleeping. If that’s not a prime example of living your best life, I don’t know what is.

Some of the other quiet quirks in Alta Acqua include an ‘fire exit’ out the back door and into the canal, and some manikins with masquerade masks on. Still not entirely sure if the last one creeps me out.


Alta Acqua is a hidden gem in Venice, but I couldn’t do the injustice of keeping it to myself. The only catch: finding it.

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