They say bookshops are on the out, but the residents of Milan clearly think otherwise. Independent stores in the city are specialising and diversifying – many now also house cafés and event spaces. Here are a few of Culture Trip’s favourites.
Two publishers, one literary scout, one literary agent and a photo editor make up the founders of Verso, which was conceived as a library-laboratory – a place for people to discuss and experiment with literature. The shop supports independent publishers, typically stocking their entire catalogue of publications, but also holds more mainstream titles and has a entire room dedicated to children’s books. The bar is a stylish place to work and have meetings but also cosy enough to enjoy reading in an armchair in solace. The bar is also the hub for Verso ‘meetings’, aka their events, which encompass classic readings to cabaret.
Verso, Corso di Porta Ticinese, 40, Milan +39 02 83 75 648
Corraini Editions is a publishing house and an art gallery, which now has several dedicated books shops in Italy. Corraini Gallery opened in Mantua in 1973 and the publishing branch was later established with a view to exploring links between art, design, graphic design, publishing, and photography. The results are beautiful – every Corraini Editions publication is specially crafted by artists, illustrators and designers in close collaboration with the authors. The events and workshops on offer at Corraini 121 in Milan reflect this creative ethos. In addition to selling Corraini titles, the store also holds a well-curated selection of external publications from international authors/editors on a range of lifestyle genres. The books are complemented by a small range of designer objects, making it an ideal destination for gift shopping.
Corraini 121, Via Savona, 17/5, Milan +39 02 36 58 41 19
6 Rosso is located in the heart of buzzy Chinatown and reflects the background and interests of its owner, former journalist Sabina Rosso – many of the books on offer address social issues such as feminism and politics. But she also caters extremely well for the wider neighbourhood by including contemporary novels, children books and literature in Chinese. You can expect very interesting speakers at her events. Two dachshunds, Virgilio and Cicchi, are resident 6 Rosso mascots.
6 Rosso, Via Alfredo Albertini 6, Milan +39 02 34 59 37 51
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This bookshop is the Holy Grail for those interested in architecture and design, with every publication you could dream of under these umbrella themes, including academic texts, periodicals and magazines. In recent years it has expanded to include sections dedicated to antique books, architectural drawings and prints, and exhibition and event space. The shop opened as an independent seller in 1980, and then in 1986 the owner Silvio San Pietro founded the publishing house Edizioni L’Archivolto. The owner’s passion for architecture and design is evident in the breadth and minutia of what is on offer at L’archivolto, it is a true specialist purveyor.
L’archivolto, via Marsala 3, Milan +39 02 65 90 842
Libreria del Mondo Offeso
Libreria del Mondo Offeso specialises in 20th-century Italian fiction in addition to stocking contemporary novels, theatre, writing no longer in print, poetry and children’s storybooks. Beginning 2018, they will begin to stock a small selection of books in English. It has a very well-attended event programme, which is unsurprising considering that in addition to traditional book readings and author presentations, they also host dynamic events such as classical music concerts to small theatre productions for children. Major writers previously hosted at Libreria del Mondo Offeso include New York Times bestselling author Charles Foster, and the late Antonio Tabucchi. In true Italian style the shop also houses a lively café/bar, which in the summer spills out onto the piazza in the lovely Brera neighbourhood.
Piazza S. Simpliciano, 7, Milan +39 02 36 52 07 97
This is an English-language-only bookstore stocking new, antique and second-hand publications of all genres. In the antique section you will also find map and decorative prints. With carpet and densely packed wooden shelves alongside prints stacked in piles, the American Bookstore has a charming old school feel about it.
American Bookstore, Via Camperio, 16, Milan +39 02 87 89 20
Gogol & Company
Gogol & Company champions emerging writers and small publishing houses, including shelves dedicated to English, French and Spanish titles. The large, airy space has a mezzanine fitted with a long bank of desks and laptop plugs making it a create co-work and meeting space. There is a quiet snug where you can take your time reading in comfy leather armchairs and a small bistro staffed by passionate readers. Gogol & Company was founded by a group of young friends, and this really comes across in the friendly atmosphere and diverse event programme – expect events with titles such as ‘Jazz and Wine’.
Gogol & Company, Via Savona, 101, Milan + 39 02 45 47 04 49
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This shop specialises in rare and difficult-to-find publications; for example, titles no longer in print or limited edition copies. It secondary specialisation is books for children and teenagers. It has a very casual, slightly bohemian feel which is also reflected in its little on-site bistro and quirky events program, often featuring musical concerts.
Libreria Baravaj, via Cesare Cesariano 7, Milan +39 32 99 75 83 50
Spazio BK is both a bookshop and creative workshop centre. The store specialises in illustrated books for adults and children, which encompasses everything from comics and illustrated fiction to niche illustrated manuals. Discover beautiful books on themes such as cinema, photography, art, architecture, design and cooking. It offers both new and used publications to suit all wallets. Courses and workshops in the ‘laboratory’ focus on image languages and crafts.
Spazio B**K, Via Porro Lambertenghi, 20, Milan +39 02 87 06 31 26