Sunday, 5 February 2017

Books, tea, wine and an Italian welcome

There's something particularly wonderful about walking into a bookshop, beginning to look around and then having an enthusiastic bookseller come rushing over because he wants to have a chat. The fact the bookseller in question happened to be a handsome young Italian man was an added bonus.

He'd spotted the tote bag I was carrying* and wanted to know where he could get some to sell in his bookshop. It was a question I couldn't answer, but thanks to the joys of Twitter I did my best to put him in touch with someone who might have been able to help.

So anyway, I guess you're wondering where this Italian bookseller can be found and how you get to meet him? Well you have to travel to Florence. Todo Modo bookshop is a stone's throw away from Ponte alla Carraia and a must-visit destination in the city. In fact, it's such a good destination this bookshop (which I believe is still relatively new) is already listed in the Lonely Planet guide to Florence and Tuscany.

From the street, you could almost be forgiven for missing Todo Modo, which is marked only by a small archway housing the window and door. Look inside and it's a lovely looking space with globes hanging from the ceiling and dark wooden dressers with books displayed in opened drawers, but there isn't a lot to appreciate if you're not a native speaker.

Fortunately, the friendly bookseller also told me where I'd be able to find the English language books – walk to the back of the bookshop's front room and a long corridor opens your eyes to the realisation the shop's frontage is no indication of how big it is.

Not only are there two more rooms of books, there's also a large cafe bar area (with an extensive offering of tea and wine, we had both) and a large stepped area that appears to double up as seating should there be any entertainment.
These rooms are all hidden behind the other shops on the street, but the resulting absence of windows only caught my attention when looking through my photos afterwards because it meant more space for bookshelves. A large skylight and clever lighting mean it's still bright and welcoming, and a scattering of chairs were being enjoyed by relaxed looking browsers. More people were sat at the tables, adding to the gentle buzz of people enjoying this friendly, modern bookshop.

We made our way to the English language section, which is obviously out of the way, at the top of the stepped wall and therefore enjoying a vantage point over the rest of the bookshop. There was a surprisingly large selection of English books and I could've easily chosen any number of titles from their selection, but – having seen it in its native Italian at the front of the bookshop – my obvious purchase had to be Elena Ferrante's The Story of the Lost Child.

My lack of language skills meant it was impossible for me to fully appreciate the books surrounding me, but as a bar and a book-filled venue I can definitely recommend Todo Modo and its exuberantly welcoming bookseller. It's a bookshop I'd love to have the opportunity to return to and who knows, next time I might see Penguin tote bags on sale among the Italian paperbacks.


Todo Modo
Via dei Fossi, 15/R, 50123 Firenze, Italy
Tel: +39 055 239 9110
@todomodolibri


*You know the ones, they're drawn in the style of traditional orange Penguin covers. This one was D H Lawrence's The Lost Girl

4 comments:

  1. GRAZIE ERICA! By the way, i've ordered peng. bags and sold them all twice!! My customers loved them, i also ordered the mugs and they loved them too ... so thank y thank you thank you and see you soon in Florence :)

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    1. This comment makes me very happy! Thank you for letting me know - and see you again someday.

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  2. Oh lovely Florence, one of my favourite places. Did you go to the English Paperback Exchange while you were there?

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    1. We did! Another great bookshop. I can't get a link to work in these comments, but take a look at "Florence Exchange" under September 2016.

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