Named by The Guardian in its 2008 list of the World’s ten best bookshops, El Ateneo in Buenos Aires captured the awe of tourists and book lovers alike because of its grandiose architecture.
Built in 1919 by an Italian architect in the eclectic style, the theater entertained Buenos Aires for a decade with top-tier tango concerts, before it was converted into a popular cinema. In 2000, the building was leased by a publishing house and found new life as a bookstore. The amphitheater’s former 1,050-person seating area now contains El Ateneo’s 120,000 book titles. The beautiful central dome retains the original Romantic-style frescos by Italian, Nazareno Orlandi celebrating the end of the First World War.