Six Great Bookstores to Visit While in Rome

Kevin Whipple / © Culture Trip
Kevin Whipple / © Culture Trip
Photo of Marianna Hunt
26 February 2018

Rome, a literature-loving city, is the ideal location for book lovers wishing to explore whole worlds and civilizations inside the crammed corners, dusty nooks, and cozy crannies of world-famous bookstores. Book fanatics should follow our guide to the best bookshops the city can offer.

The Almost Corner Bookshop

Founded by an Irish ex-pat, the Almost Corner Bookshop has the feel of an authentic independent bookshop in the UK. A welcoming atmosphere and a selection of almost all the latest releases as well as most classic favorites has made this bookstore one of the most famous English language bookshops in Rome, and a favorite with the Italian capital’s English speaking population. The shop is a home away form home and sure-fire place to find fellow English speaking literature lovers in Rome.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-1.30pm, 3.30pm-8pm; Sun 11am-1.30pm, 3.30pm-8pm

Open Door Bookshop

Selling second-hand books at fantastic prices, the Open Door Bookshop, run by the same family for over 40 years, is one of the most popular places in Rome to discover a bargain. Rifle through the soaring shelves and dusty nooks and crannies to hunt down tattered volumes and hidden gems. The used books in this cornucopia of literature come in a variety of languages, with many English options to choose from. The historic interior, crowded feel of the shelves, and eclectic decoration make you feel as though time stops as soon as you cross the entrance way to the shop and complete the wonderful experience here at Open Door.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-8pm

Arion Esposizioni

A hot-spot with Rome’s young, hipster population, the Arion Esposizioni is located in the city’s exhibition hall and cultural center, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. The museum’s basement, just next to the coffee shop, is home to this outstanding bookshop. Designed by architect Firouz Galdo , the super stylish and modern interior makes for a perfect setting for the shop’s collection of books on art, photography, design, fashion, and architecture. The bookstore, with its striking all-white color scheme, was listed by American website Flavorwire among their choice of the 20 most beautiful bookshops in the world.

The Anglo American Book Co.

A stalwart among Rome’s bookshops, the Anglo American Book Co. is a superb bookstore offering a fantastic range of newly published English language books. Booker Prize nominees rub shoulders with Nobel Prize winners on the jam-packed shelves here. The bookstore is wonderfully located by Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps, and this tranquil haven of books is an ideal spot to escape the bustling streets of Rome for the far-flung places, exotic lands, and magical realms of the shop’s shelves. Specializing in absolutely everything, no matter your subject or taste, you’re sure to find something among the crammed shelves of the Anglo American Book Co.

Opening hours: Mon 3.30pm-7.30pm; Tue-Sat 10.30am-7.30pm

Libri Necessari

This treasure trove of books is a practical Aladdin’s cave of finds. Literature lovers will be in heaven among the dusty tomes and ancient volumes here at Libri Necessari. Specializing in vintage books, the historic exterior of the quaint hole-in-the-wall bookshop charms visitors in and acts as a perfect pairing to the leather bindings, yellowed pages, and smell of old books permeating the inside. Pure literary classics in both English and many other languages can be found here along with the world’s best philosophy, poetry, and even used scripts from famous plays.


Established in 2006, Ottimomassimo is Rome’s only travelling bookshop. Along their travels, the team meet thousands of children, hoping to inspire them to read by demonstrating the magic which can be found in literature. They tell stories from the mobile bookshop itself, facilitating an instant source of books for the children afterwards. Ottimomassimo also have a permanent bookshop in the heart of Rome. There, they collect used-books to donate to schools around the city, to increase their literary selection.

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