Libreria Perfetto is not the real name of this bookstore. Located in a narrow alley in Perugia, this old fashioned store had no name board when I entered, so I gave it the name of Perfetto (perfect) book store, because it came to me at a perfect timing.
Perfetto is one of those book shops that have no atmosphere but you just have to visit it to know it. And I guess that was the beauty of this place. A huge carton of second hand books in the front with many titles in English welcomed me at the door. The entire shop was filled with numerous books in no particular order or genre. Totally random. Not one of those organized stores. I obviously visited each and every corner to see the books, to smell them. I wanted to let a book find me more so because there were no labels or directions to help you. I found Tim Parks Italian Neighbors for only EUR 2 lying in one of the cartons at the side. It was a steal and I could not miss buying it.
Next I checked to see another shelf that had many titles in English. What caught my eye was Elizabeth Browning’s small book of poetry! Sigh! I quickly picked it up before someone else could but to my dismay the book was torn and some of the pages were missing. I moved to another shelf and found myself beaming. An old copy of Jan Morris’s Venice was crying out to me. It was time to bargain. The owner was a bit shy to speak because he did not know English but he did try and explain me his point and we settled at EUR 4. It was such a fulfilling moment! Wander the streets of Perugia just behind Palazzo dei Priori and you might chance upon this gem of a store.
To know more about Zubboli check here.
– Caffe San Marco Bookstore in Trieste
Located on a quiet corner of Trieste in Via Cesare Battisti, Caffe San Marco is well known because of its connection to writer- James Joyce and poet- Umberto Saba. I was not aware of Caffe San Marco until I read about Trieste. I also had no knowledge of it being a book store either. So when I was visiting, I took it to be just another of the famous caffes of Trieste (and there are many)
To my surprise and delight, I found half of the Caffe turned in a book store. Incorporated only in 2013, the book store was pristine, set in ornate wood work and chandeliers.
It had a wide range of titles but only a few in English. The manager of the store was a lady who seemed to be in mid 40s. She was kind to enlighten me why the books in English were fewer. The cost of translations was very high and according to her it is always best to encourage the readers to first read in their language and then in a foreign one. So the only English books that were there were the ones that were already translated.
I was a little disappointed but I tried not to let this hamper my enthusiasm of the place. So I sat in their baroque black and white couch and ordered a coffee that Joyce drank when he frequented the place (I would like to call it the “Joyce Special”) I picked up a coffee table book on Roman history and browsed through it while drinking my coffee. It was surreal.
After an hour or so, the lady came to my desk telling me that she had a title in English that she thought I would like. She had brought a copy of “Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere”. I was open mouthed. I told her that that book was on my wishlist since months. It was such a sweet gesture from her side. I was overjoyed to find a book that I wanted in my hands and that too from a book store in Trieste. It completed my travel of the city in a special way.
Check more on San Marco here to know about its book readings and other programmes.