5 Must-Visit Bookstores in Rome

Bookstores are like a little piece of heaven on earth where a book lover can get lost amongst books of different kinds, genres and authors, along with the attractive book displays and the ambience of the store. Having visited bookstores in several countries, I can say that although one will find known authors and known genres everywhere, some differences are typical of the country and its people. These include books and literature in the local language of the country, books based on the local reading preferences or cultural interests, books by local authors, and the writers who speak about the country, its people, and its culture.

However, these aspects are more visible in the indie bookstores than the chains, which are pretty much similar worldwide.

Recently, I was in Rome, looking to discover bookstores. And did I discover them? Oh yes, I did! Initially, I thought I was looking for them, but by the end, it seemed they were looking for me.

So here I am with the five most charming and beautiful bookstores in Rome.

La Feltrinelli

La Feltrinelli Rome is a vast, multi-level bookstore in Italy with eleven locations in Rome. It is a must-visit bookstore for booklovers in Rome. It offers a wide selection of English and Italian books, music, movies and stationery. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable, and they regularly host book-related events. They also have books in other international languages.

Feltrinelli is open seven days a week and offers visitors a delightful and quirky ambience. The store has an extensive collection of books that spans various genres and topics, including bestsellers and classics. Whether you need a novel to read during your trip or a guidebook to explore the city, you’re bound to discover something you like at Feltrinelli.

If you are a fan of books or searching for a distinctive experience while in Rome, visiting Feltrinelli is a must. Get lost in the realm of literature, browse through the vast book collection, and unveil a universe of information and motivation within the confines of this captivating bookstore.

Website: https://www.lafeltrinelli.it

Otherwise

Otherwise is an independent English-language bookstore near Piazza Navona in Rome with an excellent selection of contemporary fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. It also has a small section of second-hand books. It has a wide range of books on Rome and Italy, both fiction and nonfiction. And if you want to read Italian literature, check their shelves for some excellent translations.

Besides books, they regularly host events like author talks, book club discussions, live music and language discussions. They offer a clutter-free environment along with a diverse selection of books. With a partnership with the Altroquando bookstore just across the street, the store provides a unique experience to English and Italian literature enthusiasts.

Sleepless book lovers can enjoy extended hours for late-night shopping, while those looking to connect with others can attend book launches, reading groups, and literary events.

Altroquando

Altroquando is an artsy and independent bookshop again close to Piazza Navona with a pub in the basement. It is the sister concern of the Otherwise bookshop but has books only in Italian. Altroquando is an alternative bookshop that is unlike the typical big bookstores you find around the city.

They have a wide selection of books on literature, photography, children, gastronomy and more. The selection is excellent but not mainstream.

Having a pub and a bookshop, they host diverse, interesting and eclectic events. They do book launches, music events, discussions, exhibitions and reviews. Great discussions take place over food and drinks. 

Even though you may be browsing the bookstore as you don’t understand Italian, the shop assistants are very helpful, forthcoming, and happy to discuss books and authors with you. Most of the books are in Italian; however, they have a small range of English titles.

The store also stocks books on cooking, comics and other niche genres. Downstairs, you will find a room with a piano, projector and tables and chairs for relaxing with a cold beer, cocktail or glass of wine. These guys do workshops and intimate events, including jazz nights, singer-songwriter evenings and presentations of documentaries and books. This makes this one of the unique bookstores in Rome.

Overlook

Different bookstores can be based on various themes. This one, a sister concern of the Otherwise bookstore, is dedicated to cinema, art, photography and visual arts. Not only does the store have books related to movies and movie stars, but it also has posters, images of movie stars, DVDs, games, actor and director biographies and various other things related to cinema. It is an independent store with a beautiful layout. It is truly a paradise for a moviegoer and one of the unique bookstores in Rome.

You can also have interesting discussions with people who are passionate about movies and everything related to them.

Website: https://www.altroquando.com/

Cicerno

The Cicerone is a unique independent bookstore in the heart of the historic centre of Rome. The Cicerone bookshop was founded in 1956 and moved to its present location in Galleria Colonna underpass in 1989. 

They have an extensive collection of ancient and rare books along with modern literature. The collection covers several genres like politics, philosophy, history, religion, mathematics and theology. 

The staff is extremely helpful and open to making recommendations and suggestions and discussing books and authors. It is a place for cultural meetings, book presentations and interactions.

The store has an interesting philosophy. Besides selling books, they also buy books and other memorabilia from the past to preserve the heritage. They purchase a variety of items, including both ancient and modern books, antiques, photographs, prints, postcards, coins, military medals and notices, military and civil proclamations, propaganda sheets, and flyers from all areas. They are also interested in old Italian banknotes, foreign titles, titles of the ancient Italian states, and old photos of Italian and foreign machines, planes, balloons, airships, and other curiosities. They evaluate offers for the sale of these materials and propose fair evaluations in return.

Website: https://www.libreriacicerone.com/chi-siamo/

The city of Rome is bursting with bookstores. Everywhere you go, you will be able to spot one. I obviously could not visit all of them, but these are some of the best bookshops in Rome, the ones I really liked.

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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