You’ve surely had the experience: you’re feeling tired and lackluster, but it’s not your body that needs care but your spirits. Among all things that do our spirits good, what’s better than a nice book? This is what Elena Molini thought a few years ago when she was a clerk in a chain bookstore and yet another customer came into the bookstore and asked her for a book that would help her state of mind at the time. 

This inspiration was the origin of an independent bookshop in Florence, a small but inviting space at Via di Ripoli 7r (you can get here from the Principe Hotel & Apartment on bus C4). Elena found great support from her sister Ester and Deborah Sergiampietri, both psychologists, and together they opened the Piccola Farmacia Letteraria (Little Literary Pharmacy).


Piccola Farmacia Letteraria Firenze


All the books here are considered medicine for the soul and each one, accordingly, comes with an informational leaflet saying who should take it and explaining its benefits. For example, New Year by Juli Zeh is a book for those who are “going through a difficult time in life” and love “novels that mix social issues with a thriller,” but should be avoided if “slow beginnings frustrate you.” Though most of the books are in Italian, a few are in English and Spanish. 

In this very special bookstore, the books are organized in categories that cover all possible feelings and themes: happiness, friendship, loneliness, and grief, as well as the need for reflection. Every reader will be sure to find the right book for what they’re going through and some answers to their existential questions. 

Piccola Farmacia Letteraria is a welcoming place where you can ask advice on what to read and get an attentive, active reception, or you can browse on your own helped by the color-coded legends on the shelves that divide the books into about 80 categories, each with its color to help your search (though the method is always evolving with the bookstore and who knows how it might change!). Right now, blue-green is the color of special bonds, yellow is for change, and orange-red is for resilience.

So how are the leaflets written? The whole team reads the books, especially the new releases by the Italian authors, and makes a careful selection. Not all books can become part of the literary pharmacy. Then Elena writes the leaflet with the help of her psychologist partners to choose the right words, especially when describing books that address sensitive topics. The leaflet includes instructions (what the book can treat), side effects (what you learn from reading it), and the dosage (for the ideal result). 

We’ll leave off wishing you a lovely visit to the Piccola Farmaica Letteraria and many great books to soothe your soul!


Piccola Farmacia Letteraria Firenze

Piccola Farmacia Letteraria Firenze


Testo: Francesca Cosi e Alessandra Repossi

Photo credits: La Piccola Farmacia Letteraria