For The Bookworm Study Abroad Students

4 Bookstores in Florence, Italy Where You’ll Want to Live

Bookworms are always looking for reliable outlets so they know where to go when they finish their book and need a new one. For a study abroad student living in Florence, Italy, who is also a bookworm, knowing where to look for books in English is essential when living in another country. 

Reading can help with the transition from leaving your home base to a completely different part of the world. When arriving at your “home away from home,” at SRISA, sometimes immediate comfort needs to be given. Reading helps by giving comfort to the reader knowing that whatever books they had on their “to-be-read” list at home, can be accessed in their new home for the semester. If a student is having a bumpy transition and needs a distraction from their worries, a good book that you can get lost in will help ease the transition. That is why having primarily English-sold books at a bookstore in Italy is imperative for those bookworms.

Here are four bookstores that every English-speaking study abroad student should check out.

Paperback Exchange

Walnut bookshelves full of English Language books
Main room to Paperback Exchange. Image by Paperback Exchange via Instagram @papexbookshop

Paperback Exchange sits on a street that most people do not intentionally turn on. It is a bookworm’s love at first sight. The first time I visited this bookstore, I was in awe of the big selection of English books offered. It was the same feeling I had when I saw Florence’s Duomo for the first time, making you immediately say “Wow” and even want to take a picture of it. I think those who are in love with reading would feel the same way. Even if they do not have the specific book you wanted to pick up, the extremely helpful owner will order it online for you and will let you know when it arrives so you can pick it up at no extra cost. Paperback Exchange also has a little quiet area where you can open your new book and begin reading it seconds after purchasing it. The owner is beyond helpful and will make sure that you get the book that you want. This place is definitely one you need to visit and it should be at the top of your list. 

Location: Via delle Oche 4 R, 50122 Florence, Italy

Hours: Mon-Friday 9:00 am- 7:30 pm

Saturday 10:30 am- 7:30 pm

Sunday: Closed

La Feltrinelli 

The best La Feltrinelli bookstore, since it is a whole franchise, is located at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station in Florence. Think of La Feltrinelli as a Barnes and Noble that can be found near your home in the States. It is a vast bookstore filled with classics like Little Women to even Cooking Basics for Dummies. Not only does it have any genre of books you can think of, but also a cafe in it too. You can pick up a coffee and spend a great amount of time wandering through the piles of books. In addition, this place is great if you are traveling on one of the trains and need to quickly find a book to keep you occupied for the duration of your trip. This comes in handy for study-abroad students when they are traveling on the weekends because of how accessible this bookstore is in the station. Especially if they did not have time to find a book before leaving for their trip. If you arrive at the train station hours or even minutes before your train (we all know that the platform numbers are announced at the last minute possible) you can take advantage of their seating and read while you wait for your platform number to finally be visible. That is why I consider it the best.

Location: Piazza della Stazione, 50123 Florence, Italy

Hours: Everyday 8:00 am- 8:00 pm

Todo Modo

Purple irises for sale adorn the entrance of the book shop
Entrance of Todo Modo. Image by Todo Modo via Instagram @todomodolibri

Todo Modo is a beautiful, small but intriguing, bookstore that is among the antique stores and artisan boutiques of Via dei Fossi. This bookstore has a wonderful book selection and a decent-sized English selection. This place is perfect for when you want to settle down with a book and get lost in it for hours and it is also a superior study spot for abroad students. After you doze off with a book in your hand, walk up to the cafe and order your favorite caffeinated drink. If you need something to wind down, order from their vast selection of wines. When you get to the point where the grumbling in your stomach distracts you from your reading, order a meal and then get back to the action. In addition to the reliable cafe, the ambiance of this place will make you fall in love with it instantly. With free wifi, books upon books to explore, and a cafe, you will never want to leave this place. 

Location: Via dei Fossi 15 R, 50123 Florence, Italy

Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 am to 7:30 pm

Sunday: 11:00 am- 7:30 pm

Biblioteca delle Oblate

Somewhere that is even better for the bookworm that wants to be submerged in hundreds of books, is if the place offers the books for free. Not technically free, but the Biblioteca delle Oblate is a public library in Florence with its only downside being that you cannot check out books without a library card, but that does not mean you can’t sit down, relax, and enjoy a great book. While reading your book in one of the cozy areas that this place has to offer, look up and see an exceptional view of Florence’s Duomo. The views of this magic place make it stand out from all of the others. It also has a cafe and wifi making it a great study spot for abroad students. Trust me, you can get a lot of reading or studying done here while being in the center of breathtaking views and it is a place you do not want to miss checking out. 

Location: Via dell’Oriuolo 24, 50122 Florence, Italy

Hours: Monday 2:00 pm-7:00 pm

Tuesday 9:00 am-7:00 pm

Wednesday-Friday 9:00 am- 11:00 pm

Saturday 10:00 am- 11:00 pm

Sunday: Closed


All of these places are perfect for study-abroad students with a passion for reading. It is nice to know about these locations because it can make searching for a book you have been wanting to read easier, especially being in a different country. Each of these places has a decent English selection to choose from for all of the bookworms out there. In addition, they each have their own strengths and you can pick the one that excites you the most. Happy reading!


Guest post by Spring 2023 Travel Writing Workshop student, Bridget Fitzgerald

Bridget Fitzgerald was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended SRISA in the spring of 2023 and is currently studying Communications at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. While at SRISA she enjoyed learning about art, history, and reading whenever she could.


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