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This Gorgeous Tome Contains Photographs Of The Most Beautiful Places To Find Old Books

This may primarily sound like one of a book lover’s wildest dreams, but whether you’re a bibliophile, armchair traveler, art lover, architecture fan, or photography aficionado, the Italian lensman Massimo Listri’s new book is a visual feast that you’ll love.



In The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, Listri takes you on a photographic tour along the halls of some of the most historically prominent libraries all over the globe. Here you’ll enjoy gazing at the rarest books from Dublin, the vast marble halls of the Palace of Marfa in Portugal, the ornate corridors and frescoes of the Vatican Apostolic Library, the majestic gaslight hall at Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in France, and the masterful carvings decorating the shelves at Metten Abbey in Bavaria, among others.  



For nearly 30 years the Florence-based photographer @massimo_listri_official has had his nose in a book, traveling throughout Europe—and beyond—to document some of the most extraordinary libraries. In Dublin, he visited the barrel-vaulted Long Room at Trinity College, home to 200,000-plus rare volumes, among them the Book of Kells; in Rome, he documented the sprawling Vatican Apostolic Library, with its epic corridors, lavish frescoes, and ornate floors; and in Portugal, he snapped the halls of the Palace of Marfa, pictured here. These extraordinary places and many, many more appear in Listri’s new tome “The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries” (@taschen), a must-have for bibliophiles, architecture lovers, and armchair travelers alike. Learn more through the link in our bio. Text by @cochransh

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Listri happily pays his respects to the boundless capacity for human knowledge, as stored on shelves, in vaults, and in cases for upcoming generations to appreciate. Take a good look at well-preserved manuscripts dating back to the 8th century, one-of-a-kind books, famed reading collections, and even musical compositions that have been stashed away for hundreds of years.

All these featured books come from private, public, church, government, and academe collections, some of which are still under threat of attack by those who wish to stifle our intellectual heritage. In response, Listri’s documentation is a gift of gratitude to those who have taken it upon themselves to protect all that information from the ravages of time, war, nature, and wear. It is also his gift to us.

The Word’s Most Beautiful Libraries is also a stunning showcase of design disciplines along the centuries, including medieval, classical, baroque, rococo, and 19th century aesthetic. Some fondly call the tome “a bibliophile beauty pageant.”

Based in Florence, the prolific Listri has published over 70 books in Europe and the United States. His work has been featured in several solo artist exhibitions around the world, including Palazzo Reale in Milan, Palazzo Pitti, The Contemporary Art Museum of Prado, The National Library of Taipei, The Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo Museum of Modern Art in Bogotà, San Carlos Museum in Mexico City, and River City in Bangkok.  



The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries is indeed, photographic proof that brains and beauty can co-exist with elegance and timelessness.

You may order your copy from the Taschen online catalog.