Florence is full of great literature, as well as plenty of bookstores to hold it all. However, finding a decent bookshop with English books can be a challenge as you either get a great ambiance, or a great selection of English books. Here are the best bookshops with the best ambiance, and best selection of English books.
La Feltrinelli RED
Bistro, Italian, $$$
This modern two storey bookstore is located under the arches of Piazza della Repubblica, one of the best piazzas for people watching. Although there is more than one Red Bookstore in the city, this one’s location is great for stopping in to browse, hanging out in the cafe, using wifi, or sitting outside with a good book. They have a decent selection of English books, host book signings with well known authors and it is always full of people.
This primarily English bookstore is a bit hidden, but is just a stone’s throw from the main cathedral of Florence. As the name would insinuate, this place does book exchanges: bring the book you just finished and trade it for a “new” one. The store offers used books as exchanges, so don’t expect a brand new book, but it will be new to you. They don’t have wifi, or a cafe, but it is quiet and relaxed.
Off the beaten tourist path, this place is a cozy slice of heaven. Decorated with wood floors, brick walls, twinkle lights and complete with a cafe, feel free to stay as long as you like. The English section is decent and there is a cozy little patio in the back to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a great selection of English books, check out this bookstore franchise in Florence. Although there are a few locations in the city, the best one is at the Santa Maria Novella trains station. With a decent sized English section, plenty of options and seating this place is great for finding your next read. There’s also a cafe inside, so grab a coffee and sit down with your new book while waiting for your train.
This place is such a gem that we almost didn’t want to mention it, but it’s too good not to share. Inside is unassuming and tiny, but walk a bit further inside and you’ll discover a charming cafe inside. Aside from the adorable cafe, the focal point of the hidden extension of the store is a huge wooden staircase that acts as seating and book storage. Lined with books on the shelves and even aligned neatly along the staircase, the collection of books along the warm wood tones and plants hanging from the ceiling makes this place inviting and cozy. They also have wifi, great food and plenty of wine choices. Although the majority of the books are in Italian, there is a foreign section, but when you get there you’ll stay for the ambiance.
This bookstore is part of the complex called Le Murate, which is an old prison turned into a bar, restaurant, bookstore and outdoor patio for live music in the summer months. The bookstore itself hosts great literary events, readings, and is a culture hotspot with plenty of postings of happenings around the city.
So this one is a library but trust us, it is worth a visit. Just a few blocks from Piazza del Duomo, this gorgeous library is easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Make your way up to the cafe area for one of the most gorgeous views of the cathedral (known as the duomoto the locals). Although you can’t check out a book without a library card, you can sit and enjoy free wifi with your own book. Great for studying, or just some quiet time away from the city noise, you can’t miss this bookworm’s heaven.