Vicolo dei Libri (Book Alley) – Lovere, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Vicolo dei Libri (Book Alley)

Lovere, Italy

Exchange a book at the entrance of this medieval Lovere alley. 


Vicolo dei Libri is a narrow passageway in the village of Lovere that dates back to the Middle Ages. Due to its strategic position, the history of Lovere is eventful, to say the least. What is worth mentioning is that during the 15th century CE, the Republic of Venice took possession of the territory and ensured long-lasting peace in the area. The local population devoted their time to trade instead of warfare, and the village experienced a protracted period of prosperity. 

Even though some buildings predate the 15th century, the structure of the historical center of Lovere is mainly the result of urban development from that era. Cobblestoned streets still crisscross at impossible angles, and some of them narrow down to claustrophobia-inducing levels.

A prime example of this is Vicolo Rose, which looks like coming to an end, but an arched gap between two tall buildings signals its continuation as Vicolo dei Libri. Above the arched gap is a bookshelf with the inscription “UN LIBRO PER TE FOR A LITERARY BREAK,” inviting passers-by to pick up or exchange books at will. 

Two hundred meters north of Vicolo dei Libri is Portichetto San Giorgio, and another two hundred meters north-east is Gradinata del Ratto, both of which are passageways from the same era.

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to find Vicolo dei Libri is to start from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and head south via Vicolo Rose.  Vicolo dei Libri is officially a section of Vicolo Rose, which runs all the way to the lakeshore.  

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October 16, 2023

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