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Six of Milan’s best bookshop cafes

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
Six of Milan’s best bookshop cafes
Milan’s ‘literary cafes’ are the perfect place to relax after a busy week. Photo by Taisiia Shestopal on Unsplash

Life in Milan can be pretty chaotic at times, but the city's ‘literary cafes’ are the perfect places to wind down.


Life in Milan, Italy’s business capital, can be pretty hectic. Luckily though, the city has no shortage of places where you can wind down at the end of a busy work week.

Book lovers won't find a better place to relax than one of the local bookshop cafes – uniquely Milanese oases of tranquillity where you can get lost in the pages of a novel while sipping on a coffee.

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While in English we may refer to them as ‘bookshop cafes’ or ‘book cafes’, these hybrid venues are known locally as caffe’ letterari - despite them having little in common with the original ‘literary cafes’, the coffee houses that served as meeting points for artists and intellectuals in Europe's major cities in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Still, Milan’s caffe’ letterari are invaluable safe havens for any avid reader sotto la Madonnina.

Gogol & Company

Located in Via Savona, just ten minutes away from the Mudec museum and the BASE Milano cultural centre, Gogol & Company is one of the most popular caffe’ letterari in Milan as it deftly merges an independent bookshop, a cafe and and a contemporary art exhibition space into one single venue.

Besides a wide selection of books and a scrumptious breakfast menu, the place is famous for its snuggly leather armchairs and cosy atmosphere.

Gogol and Company is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 2pm and from 4pm to 9pm, with Saturday and Sunday mornings generally being the busiest times.

The venue is also a good place for anyone looking to study or do some work on their laptop in a quiet, relaxed environment.


Libreria Verso 

Libreria Verso is a two-story caffe’ letterario located just minutes away from the Basilica of San Lorenzo in south Milan.

The place is packed to the rafters with books of all sorts (from big literary classics to lesser-known titles) but there’s still room for tables and chairs allowing customers to spend some quality time in the company of their reads of choice whilst sipping on a coffee.

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They’re open every day (Sundays included) from 10am to 8pm.


Colibri’ is a Bohemian-style bookshop cafe lying at the heart of the city, just south of the Duomo.

It combines a rich selection of independent and mainstream titles with an equally rich spectrum of nibbles and beverages, including cocktails.


The venue also has a small garden with colourful tables which is nothing short of heaven on earth on warm days. Colibri’ is open every day of the week except Sundays, with Thursday and Friday afternoons generally being the busiest times.


Lapsus is a fairly small venue but what it lacks in size it makes up for in homely atmosphere and finger-licking culinary creations.

The place has a good selection of titles, with a peculiar focus on literature for kids and adolescents.

Lapsus can be found in Via Meda, south Milan, and is open every day of the week, except Sundays.  


Though it’s more of a ‘literary bar’ than a ‘literary cafe’, LibrOsteria deserves a mention as it’s arguably one of the most unique places for book lovers in town.


Located just north of Parco Sempione, the venue is an eclectic urban bar moonlighting as a second-hand bookshop which also regularly puts on live music performances, book presentations and open-mic nights.

LibrOsteria is open every day from late afternoon to late evening.

RED Feltrinelli - Porta Romana

While it’d be hard to class it as a caffe’ letterario due to its size (400 square metres with over 70 seats available), Porta Romana’s RED Feltrinelli also gives you the chance to simultaneously sate your mind and palate.

RED here stands for Read, Eat, Dream, which should give you a fairly good idea of what this branch of the popular Feltrinelli bookshop is all about.

Besides book lovers, RED Feltrinelli is also popular among people looking to do some work on their laptops in a casual environment.

There are two other RED Feltrinelli's in Milan, one in Piazza Gae Aulenti and the other in Piazza Tre Torri.


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