Avid readers know the best novels allow you to travel and see the beauties of the world without ever getting up from the sofa. Those who live in Florence, on the other hand, are even more fortunate. This wonderful city is home to some of the most beautiful historical libraries in the world – ideal places to immerse yourself in the history, as well as in the pages, of excellent timeless books. And maybe not just read a book but feel like you’re set in one. Maybe you’ve read a book or seen a movie set in Florence, such as ‘Room with a View’.
One of the best bookshops to explore in Florence is Oreste Gozzini, right in Piazza Duomo. It was opened in 1850 by Oreste Gozzini as a clearinghouse for the trade of ancient and modern books and which, even today, is managed by the founder’s family. Among the wooden shelves there are several ancient and precious volumes, some of which date back to the 1400s.
Next, we find the Martelli bookshop, founded in 1840 by Felice and Alessandro Poggi and soon became a well-known meeting point for intellectuals and writers of the time. Throughout its history it has taken on many names, including “Bemporad” and “Marzocco”, and then settled as “Libreria Martelli”, which recalls the name of the street in which it is located.
Not far away, just below the classical high school called Galileo, is the Giornate Bookshop. This is a destination for collectors and enthusiasts thanks to the large catalog of out-of-commerce publications with genres such as art, cuisine, music, gardening, customs and much more.
Last, but not least, is the Gonnelli Antiquaria Bookshop, whose birth dates back to 1875. This references some of the Macchiaioli painters of the time and was frequented by prominent figures of Italian literature, including Gabriele D’Annunzio, Benedetto Croce and Giuseppe Prezzolini.
We’d better get reading! Do you know any other historical Florentine bookstores?