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Bookshelf©David Orban:flickr
Bookshelf©David Orban:flickr
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7 Cool Bookstores to Visit in Sicily

Picture of Gillian McGuire
Updated: 21 July 2017
Books about Sicily abound. You can read about the crumbling glamor of the aristocracy in The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, or if mysteries are your thing, the very popular Inspector Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri will keep you busy. Although it can be difficult to find books in English, there is usually a small shelf hidden away, just ask. Here we have rounded up some of the best bookstores to visit on Sicily.
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This is a large national chain that you’ll find in Messina, Palermo and Catania, just look for the famous red sign. Palermo was a hub for literary intellectuals at the turn of the century when café society centered around the university, historic palaces and the city’s famous cafés. The Palermo laFeltrinelli is reminiscent of this time and offers a café and free Wi-Fi.

laFeltrinelli, Via Cavour, 133, Palermo, Sicily, +39 199 151 173

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Novecento was founded by Domitilla Alessi as both a bookstore and a publishing house. The glass-fronted wood cabinets reach floor to ceiling and are filled with works by Italian and international authors. There is a small art gallery next door that hosts exhibits and author talks.

Novecento, Via Siracusa, 7, Palermo, Sicily

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This historic name is best known in Sicily as a publishing house, but it’s also a modern shop located in the Forum Palermo shopping center. Flaccoovio has a large children’s section and hosts children’s activities and author events.

Flaccovio, Via Filippo Pecoraino, Palermo, Sicily, +39 0917 654 420

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Libreria Sellerio

If you are spending day at the beach in Mondello, this small seafront bookshop is worth a browse. You are sure to find the entire series of the Inspector Montalbano mysteries by Andrea Camilleri (in Italian), which include some history of the town.

Libreria Sellerio, Viale Regina Elena, 59, Palermo, Sicily, +39 091 684 1612

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Modusvivendi Libreria

This independent bookstore might be small on space, but the white lacquered shelves are filled to the brim with the works of modern Italian authors. The passionate and helpful staff at Modusvivendi is happy to assist you to ensure you find something great to read.

Modusvivendi Libraria, Via Quintino Sella, 79, Palermo, Sicily, +39 091 323 493

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Via Vittorio Emmanuele

If you love the hunt, head to the Via Vittorio Emanuele, a street full of small bookshops with used books of all kinds.

Via Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo, Sicily

Italian Bookstore ©Arne Kösel:Flickr

Italian Bookstore | ©Arne Kösel/Flickr

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Square Books

An initiative of Gammazita, an organization that redevelops urban spaces in Catania, Square Books is an open-air book and newspaper swap, where people leave and lend books in a public space. There is also a small café, Wi-Fi is available, and occasionally events are held here too.

Square Books, Piazza Federico di Svevia, 92, Catania, Sicily

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Castello Ursino Bookshop

The Castello Ursino Bookshop is located inside the historic and quirky Castello Ursino castle in the center of Catania. In addition to a carefully curated collection of titles, there is a small gallery space for art and photography shows, as well as occasional workshops for children.

The Castello Ursino Bookshop, Piazza Federico II, Catania, Sicily, +39 389 831 1925

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In mid-summer, the Sicilian town of Taormina hosts the Taobuk book festival. In addition to the many titles available, there are author talks, theatre performances and other events held in the dramatic setting of the Greek theatre, as well as in piazzas and smaller venues throughout the festival.

Taobuk, Taormina, Sicily