- September 27, 2015
Opened in 1906, Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookstores in Porto and the world. It is the flagship store for one of the most important Portuguese publishing houses. Co-owner Antero Braga is usually around, knows the Portuguese book market in and out, and will be glad to help you find exactly what you want even when you don’t have a clue about what that may be.
Designed by Xavier Esteves, the bookstore’s architecture and interior design are stunning. The facade is an excellent neo-gothic design. Once inside, there is the curvaceous red stairway connecting the two levels (inspired on the Parisian Galleries Lafayette), the heavily decorated walls and ceilings, and the magnificent stained-glass skylight with Lello’s motto vecus in labore will no doubt impress you. The pillars are ornamented with bronze bas-reliefs of Portuguese literature figures and there is a small track on the floor along which employees move carts filled with books. All in all, Lello is one of the best works of the so-called “second eclecticism” style in Portugal, with beautiful art nouveau naturalist elements.