Are you a visitor to Venice looking for holiday reading? Seeking a Venice-set novel, perhaps, or an entertaining city history? Or are you an English-speaking expat in Venice looking for contemporary fiction? A Venetian eager to read English and American classics? Venice's new English-language bookshop, Wellington Books, was set up to cater for all the above, and more.
As Venice's character is continually chipped away by the tourist industry, its local shops, its book stores and its historic haunts are all too often closing down to be replaced by cheap souvenir shops, clothes shops and even kebab take-aways. It is great to find and support a new business which actually caters to the local community and contributes to the cultural life of the city.
The owner of Wellington Books, Gaspare Battistuzzo Cremonini, is a Venetian with expert knowledge of English literature and a love of English culture. The idea for his bookshop came at a time when locals were mourning the loss of the city's biggest bookstore and wondering where they could find a good range of books in English.
Wellington Books has a section dedicated to Venice with a good choice of specialist guides, including books about Venice's hidden gardens. There are literary classics and old favourites such as Tolkien and Wodehouse alongside contemporary fiction and bestsellers. You'll also be able to find books to entertain children here, including Venice-themed picture books.
As well as selling books to Venice's expats and Anglophiles, Gaspare explains that the shop has become a hub for English-language community events. You can find information here about local English-language groups and buy tickets for concerts of Baroque music organised by the Venice Music Project
The bookshop also hosts a book club, authors' readings and events.
Wellington Books is located near the Rialto, on Calle della Mandola, along the route between Campo Manin and Palazzo Fortuny. You'll pass it on the San Marco Secrets walk from the Italy Heaven Guide to Venice.