About us

A little history of the Bookshop

Oreste Gozzini’s small book-buying business started around 1850 on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence under the name of “Libreria Dante”. Having a passion for ancient books, the young Oreste put however his business on hold to go and fight alongside Garibaldi in the battles of Bezzecca and Mentana (1866-67). In 1878, back home, he moved his shop to Via S. Egidio 10. And in 1887, its business had grown so much that he opened a branch in Rome, via S. Ignazio 44. In 1928, after several relocations, Oreste’s son, Gino, moved to the famous “Bookshop street”, Via Ricasoli 28, where he remained till 1958.

In the meantime, around the 40’s, Gino, who had much less passion for books than his father, sold the business to his son-in-law, Renato Chellini, who perpetuated it as a family-run business. In 1950, Pietro, Renato’s son, joined his father to co-manage with him. In 1959, the bookshop was finally relocated Via Ricasoli 49-103R, where it is still today, run by the heirs of the family. The current owners, Francesco and Edoardo Chellini, father and son, are now the fifth and sixth generations.

Some photos of the Bookshop’s local historians taken in the 1950s.

Some historical documents from the antiquarian Bookshop dating back to the last century

Located in the 18th Century Palazzo Alfani, the bookshop has small shop-windows, behind which are hidden more than 20 rooms full of antique furniture and floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves, covered with thousands of books of multicolored bindings. A large interior garden sits in the middle. Going from one room to the other is like time-travelling.

From the very beginning, a special attention was dedicated to Law and Economics books, a tradition that still remains alive today. Over the years, many famous jurists came to the bookshop. Moreover, many distinguished figures of the 1900s, such as Benedetto Croce, Luigi Einaudi, Giovanni Papini, Vanni Scheiwiller, Giovanni Spadolini, Angelo Sraffa, Denis Mac Smith, wandered among our rooms and shelves.

Entering the age of modernity, the archives began to be digitalized in 1998, and this led to the creation of a “virtual bookshop” with more than 82,000 titles available. Today, either in the old paper files or in the digital database, editions of any kind, period or price are now accessible to all, making the Gozzini Booshop “The kingdom for those looking for the most ancient words”.

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