Looking for a cozy place to curl up with a book and perhaps a cappuccino? We’ve tracked down the best places where you can be surrounded by books and delicious bites to eat. Whether you want to study, look pensive and poetic while writing a journal entry, or just grab breakfast while flipping through some literature, these are our favorite hideaways all over the city.
Via Milano, 15/17 (Termini)
Tue, Wed, Thur, Sun 10:00am-8:00pm, Fri & Sat 10:00am-10:30pm
Some say this is the coolest bookshop in the city. It doesn’t have a particularly good selection of books in English, however the space is modern and dynamic and it’s worth just browsing all the inspiring coffee table books on art, design, photography, architecture, travel and gastronomy. When you’re done drooling over aspirational hardcover stuff you may not be able to afford, you can pop over to their cafe Palombini Esposizioni for a snack.
Via V.E. Orlando 84/86 (Termini)
Mon-Sat 9:00am-8:00pm; Sun 10:30-1:30pm 4:00pm-8:00pm
This is the big Daddy of books in languages other than Italian. If you’re looking to stock up on the latest titles from around the world or browse a great range of dictionaries or grammar books for studying Italian, this is the place to get the job done. They have an impressive selection and good prices, however you might not feel as cozy or poetic here because it is an international chain store.
Libreria del Viaggiatore
Via del Pellegrino, 78 (Campo dei Fiori)
Mon 2:30-8:00pm, Tue-Sat 10:00am-8:00pm
This is one of our absolute favorites. This little cave of books in Italian, English and other foreign languages is crammed with goodies and makes you feel equally excited about reading and travel. Not just guidebooks here – you’ll also find narrative non-fiction travel memoirs. If you’re a hardcore bookshop groupie and you love the idea of stores that specialize in one genre put this on your list. Even their stationary here is decorated in vintage world maps and the street it’s on is a charming spot for eclectic window-shopping.
Via degli Zingari, 22a (Monti)
Mon & Sat 8:00am-7:00pm, Tue & Thurs 8:00am-12:00pm, Wed 8:00am-3:00pm, Fri 8:00am-11:00am
We love this store firstly because of its cute name, validating vintage books as an imperative as opposed to a bit of whimsy to lie unopened on a pretentious coffee table. This place is worth a visit because it’s a tiny little hole-in-the-wall secondhand bookstore where true book lovers will find a real treasure trove of Italian and foreign language books with genres as vast as poetry, philosophy, cinema, literature, political science, children’s fiction, magazines and even old theatre scripts.
Via della Lungaretta, 90/E (Trastevere)
Open everyday 10:00am-12:00am (and until 1:00am Fri and Sat)
This adorable little bookshop is located in the heart of Trastevere near the beautiful Piazza di Santa Maria. Inside you will find a cozy couch where you can relax and loose yourself in a good book or page through a magazine for a while. One night a week (usually Wednesdays) they host a book reading of some of their personal favorites. They hold a pretty good selection of foreign language books, particularly in English, and a wide range of genres.
Open Door Bookshop
Via della Lungaretta, 23 (Trastevere)
These guys have been saving bookworm expats for the past 30 years in Rome with their great selection of English, French and Spanish books. There’s an eclectic mix of genres and they also stock and buy secondhand books. They often host small concerts and book presentations and their whole philosophy is very much for those who take pleasure in browsing for the perfect escapism on the page. You get the feeling here that this bookstore is for real readers and the selection of titles will not restrict you to the usual bestseller list in English, which often is all us expats can get our hands on. Highly recommended.
Via Nazionale 254/255 (Termini)
Open 9am-8pm Mon-Sat, 10am-1.30pm 4pm-8pm Sun
Although they may have a more limited selection than Feltrinelli International, IBS still has an excellent selection of books to choose from that are also in different languages including English. From award winning best sellers to autobiographies, you can find them all here or on their website. This bookstore also carries DVDs, CDs, EBooks, and schoolbooks as well. They also have more of a relaxing atmosphere, so finding your book may just be a little easier.
Il Mare Concept Store and International Bookshop
Via di Ripetta, 239 (Centro Storico)
Open Mon 2pm-7.30pm; Tue-Sat 10am-7.30pm
This cute nautical bookshop organizes meetings and events dedicated to art, gastronomy, folklore, Italian maritime traditions and the Mediterranean. This might not be your weekly bookshop, however if you have a love for the sea, you should put this on your list. They have a decent range of English books and it’s fun just for a browse or for gift shopping for anyone who loves the sea. Long live niche bookstores!
Almost Corner Bookshop
Via del Moro, 45 (Trastevere)
Mon -Thurs 10am-7:30pm, Fri & Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-8pm
Just a few steps from Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, this little bookshop is the perfect place to go to escape the hectic pace of city life and get lost in a good book for a couple hours. Locals love coming here because it’s a taste of Trastevere that hasn’t faded away in the fast developing neighborhood full of commercial and noisy shops. Almost Corner has a beautiful assortment of new and used books in English where you can find classics as well as some newer titles.
Anglo American Book Co.
Via della Vite, 102 (Centro Storico)
Mon 3:30pm-7:30pm, Tue-Sat 10:30am-7:30pm
Located near the heart of Rome, this bookshop has a very impressive stock with over 40,000 English language titles to choose from. Anglo American Book Co. has it all, from guidebooks, modern fiction, classics, cookbooks, children’s books, history, art, architecture, and many more! The workers are friendly and will help you find what you are searching for, and if they don’t have your desired title in stock they can help you order it online. This is a great place to dive into to find some peace and quiet, especially if you have been doing a day of shopping nearby on Via del Corso.
Piazza Campo de Fiori 44 (Campo dei Fiori)
Mon 4pm-10pm, Tue-Sat 10am-1:30pm & 4pm-12am
Since 1989 in Campo de ‘Fiori, the bookshop/library Fahrenheit 451 has carried a wonderful selection of books new and old. Especially attentive to the visual arts, cinema, photography and theater, it is the ideal place to spend your evenings in search of the newest novel or one of your favorite classic stories that can be harder to find in other bookshops.
Via del Governo Vecchio 80/82/83
Open everyday 10:00am-1am
Here’s another one for cinema, art and photography fans. This bookshop has everything from DVDs to film posters and photographs to actor and director biographies. It also stocks books on cooking, comics and other niche genres. Downstairs you will find a room with a piano, projector and of course tables and chairs for relaxing with a cold beer, cocktail or glass of wine. These guys do workshops and intimate events including jazz nights, singer songwriter evenings and presentations of documentaries and books.
Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1
Mon-Fri 10:30am-1:30pm & 2:30pm-7pm
Located in Officine Fotografiche, Bistro’F is a little library that specializes in photo books. It offers a relaxing atmosphere where you can leaf through one of the many photo magazines available or browse through new Italian and foreign books. They also offer free wifi so you can get comfortable, order a snack or drink and perhaps work on a project or some homework with your friends.
Libreria Caffè Bohemien
Via degli Zingari, 36 (Monti)
Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 5pm-1am; Fri, Sat 6pm-2am
Filled with artwork, good food and an excellent selection of books, Libreria Caffè Bohemien is a friendly café and bookshop that guarantees a good time. Inside you will also find a beautiful grand piano that’s open for everyone to play. So stop by, find a good read, discover your hidden musical talent, and choose from their savory selection of wines or maybe grab a hot cup of tea.
Invito alla Lettura Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II, 283 (Centro Storico)
Sun-Fri 9am–9pm, Sat 9am–12am
This very vintage space has comfy couches, second hand trinkets, music and used and rare books. The coffee is cheap, the staff are friendly and the atmosphere is very conducive to reading, however, you may be put off by the location being on the big main road busy with traffic. Once curled up on a couch in this retro little hideaway you won’t even notice the fact that you’re not in a cute Roman alleyway.
Via Degli Aurunci, 38 (San Lorenzo)
Mon-Thurs 10:30am- 12:00am, Fri & Sat 10:30am-2:00am, Sun 3:30pm-12:00am
This bookshop specializes in foreign novels, which is great news for expats. In addition they have comics, photography and art publications and all books are divided by the nationality of the authors. You can sit yourself down and flip through magazines, books, or just try their selection of teas, including herbal, hot chocolate and organic homemade cakes and biscuits.
Pagine e Caffe
Via Gallia, 37 (San Giovanni)
Open everyday 10:00am-12:00am
Also a wine bar and restaurant, this independent bookstore is passionate about encouraging the little guys in publishing. Aside from books, they’ve also got magazines on publishing, art and gastronomy. They attract some fairly big-name writers, Italian and international. The space is extremely cozy and it’s worth checking out their site for the latest events, concerts, workshops etc.
Via Perugia 4, (Pigneto)
Mon 12pm-12am, Tue-Sun 11am- 12:30am
If you are looking for a place to get away from the frenetic pace of the capital, Lo Yeti is the place to go. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, the staff is friendly, and it is a place locals love to retreat to. Also famous for their food, Lo Yeti carries cuisine from breakfast to dinner so you can kick back with a good read, grab a savory bite and relax for a while.
Emporio Libreria Gusto
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 7
Since 1998, Emporio Libreria di Gusto has been a concept store and bookshop in the center of Rome dedicated to lovers of cooking and beautiful kitchenware. This bookstore, which is the best equipped in the genre of cooking in Rome and Italy, offers a discerning selection of over 2,000 titles: cookbooks, recipe books, books on wine, desserts, regional Italian and international cuisine, foreign language recipe books, chef greats and industry magazines.
Authors: Kylie Flavell and Margaret Flenner