Books Abroad: Exploring the Rizzoli Bookstore of Milan

Anahita Padmanabhan ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The city of Milan is known for many things, primarily it’s presence in the fashion world. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is one of it’s main high end shopping centers located next to La Piazza del Duomo with stores like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Versace. The Galleria is always packed with tourists and locals alike. It is a historical building with beautiful architecture that can only be found in Milan.

But between the restaurants and the high end fashion is Rizzoli. Rizzoli bookstore has been located in the Galleria since 1949, and closed down for a few months in 2014 for renovations. The bookstore is now home to over 40,000 books of all varieties. It has become an icon representing the Italian culture and its location intensifies its symbol as a part of Milan history.

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Rizzoli is a three story bookstore. The main floor, which shoppers enters into, is for fiction novels and narratives from across the globe. Located as soon as one enters the room is a table of some of the most popular books in the world like Paper Towns (in Italian), and off to the left are the bookstands. Going further into the store there is the section of newspapers and magazines from national and international newsstands. It also has a section dedicated to art, design, fashion, photography, and precious books, the Ottagono, located at the very back of the store.

In the basement, there are essays, manuals for special interests and travel, foreign language books, as well as nonfiction books that can be used for research. It also offers more space for readers to sit and spend some time in the store reading and enjoying the atmosphere of Rizzoli. It also is used for events such as shows or exhibits. The top floor is dedicated to “the young readers of tomorrow.” There are children’s books as well as games and activities that are offered there. It is structured to involve children and build an interest in the literary world and culture.

Rizzoli’s renovated bookstore was made to welcome book lovers from all over the world. It mixes the modern design with historical furnishings. It now has not just salespeople, but booksellers ready to help readers and to give suggestions. It incorporates technology in helping readers discover new books, and it has events throughout the year that are meant to foster new connections between readers, authors, and the books.

Rizzoli may seem unexpected in its location. Being surrounded by Versace and Prada, it seems like a bookstore is out of place, however, Rizzoli’s belongs in the Galleria as much as any of the fashion stores. The Galleria is home to many icons of Italian culture, and it would not be complete without Rizzoli. It connects the history of the city to the modern times we live in. It offers connections to the Italian culture, and even the cultures of other countries through its books. Rizzoli is, and always will be, a cornerstone in Milan culture.

Rizzoli has a second branch that has opened in New York City!

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