November 16, 2019
Famed waterproof bookstore in Venice suffering from recent flooding
by Stephanie DeLuca
Last week’s flooding in Venice caused dramatic damages throughout the city. Currently in a state of emergency, the highwater mark reached 6 feet, 2 inches, the worst the city has experienced in over 50 years. Homes are destroyed, famous landmarks are in peril, and two people have reportedly died.
A city easily subjected to flooding, residents live knowing that serious floods are a distinct possibility—which is why the famous bookstore Libreria Acqua Alta (High Water Bookshop) stored all of their books in bathtubs, waterproof bins, and yes, even a gondola. They claimed to be waterproof. But sadly, these precautions weren’t enough for the recent flooding.
The Local, an Italian news site written in English, reports that hundreds of books were destroyed. The store’s co-owner Diana, who has been trying to salvage whatever she can while wearing rain boots and tiptoeing through the store, said “We call ourselves Acqua Alta (High Water). We expect high water, but not this high. There is water everywhere. We were not ready for a storm like this.”
The bookstore is a famous tourist attraction, with visitors from all over the world, including neighborhood cats who wander in for mid-afternoon naps amongst the stacks. We hope the store—and all of Venice—dries out soon.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.