Walking through these tiny cobblestone alleys in Venice, which are shaded by the semi-tall buildings, you can’t help but feel like there’s magic somewhere. Maybe it’s lying just beneath the Earth, gathering at your feet. Or maybe it’s all balled up behind that wooden door to your left. Either way, there’s something about this city that feels magical…mystical.
If you’re searching for that feeling, there are a few places you can look. The first would be Libreria Alta Alcqua. Quite possibly one of the most visually stunning bookstores in the world, Alta Aqua also has an impressive selection of books and knick-knacks. Due to the constant flooding of this city, the bookstore preserved its books by storing them in bathtubs and boats. This has created the feeling of drowning in literature and it is intoxicating.
To experience the charm at it’s finest, step into one of the two courtyards, where you will find stacks and stacks of ancient books. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Flourish and Blotts, the bookstore in Diagon Alley.
If you’re not sure whether you’d prefer to be amused or scared, then Ca’ Macana is where you go next. Each shop (there are two) is a maze of emotions. They sell faces, masks. Classic Shakespearian or Festival masks might be the most popular. Yet they also sell recreations of the Plague doctor’s mask, used during the 15th century when Europe was being wiped away by disease.
It’s creepy to walk into a colorful room, with no empty space on the walls, and see thousands of faces staring back at you. If you’re wanting a peek into the trade, try out one of their workshops. Make whatever face you want.
There are more places you can go if you wish to look further. The Scuola Grande di San Marco might make you feel like you’re staring at an ancient school of thievery, for example.
But what’s better than discovering these hidden places on you’re own? Take the wrong turn, go one street over. Don’t go where you mean to go. You might just like what you find.
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