Literary City Spotlight: Rome Edition
Rome is known as one of the most romantic, intoxicating, and iconic cities. Writers like Lord Byron and John Keats have flocked to the destination for centuries based on this historic and dreamy reputation, and it continues to be one of the top 10 reported cities people would most like to visit today. If you’re one of those travelers eagerly planning your Italian adventure, consider carving out a little time for literary sites—the opulent locale has plenty of book-themed gems to offer.
1. Antico Caffè Greco
Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
With a history that harkens back to 1760, cafe and bar Antico Caffè Greco is the oldest bar in Rome and the second oldest in Italy. Stepping into the ornate space is akin to stepping back in time, and you might feel the spirit of famed writers among the art-filled walls and intimate booths. Percy Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and other literary figures wrote, drank, and chatted here, making it the perfect place to pen a new draft or have a thought-provoking conversation with friends.
2. Goethe House
Via del Corso, 18, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a poet, playwright, and novelist known for shaping the Romantic era, spent two years in this house writing and researching some of his most pivotal works. It’s now a small museum that showcases both his literary publications and personal letters. The space is a rare glimpse into the life of a true Renaissance man, and was also visited by other writers and artists of the time, including Karl Phillipp Moritz and Angelica Kauffman.
3. Nikolai Gogol Home
Rome Via Sistina, 122 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Russian novelist and praised satirist Nikolai Gogol is best known for his life’s work Dead Souls, portions of which he wrote throughout his 12 years spent in Italy. Gogol took inspiration from Rome specifically, developing a passion for opera, art, and Italian literature that grew to deeply influence his work. This home gives readers the opportunity to see where much of Gogol’s career unfolded.
4. Anglo American Book
Via delle Vita, 27 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Anglo American Book describes itself as the “premier indie English bookstore in Rome,” a title that’s well-deserved based on its wide array of genres and origins that date back to 1953. The business is not just a store, but also a cultural institution—blending the best of American and Italian literary culture.
5. Almost Corner Bookshop
Via del Moro, 45 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Almost Corner Bookshop is an adorable, 30-year-old shop selling English and Italian titles and hosting a plethora of fun events. Located on a tiny, cobblestone street and in a vintage, sun-lit building draped in vines, Almost Corner Bookshop is a worthwhile stop and an aesthetic daydream.
Looking for more bookish destinations to add to your list? Check out our previous literary city spotlight features.