Italian photographer Massimo Listri has spent his career capturing some of the most magnificent and unexpected interiors in the world. His signature style of large-scale and highly detailed pictures is most often shot without a single person in the frame, allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves within the magnitude of details that each space offers. For his new book, The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, Listri has traveled the world to capture the interiors of 55 libraries in 16 countries — places that the artist describes as “cathedrals of knowledge.”
For Listri, these are spaces that have a special meaning. “I’ve been photographing architecture and interiors since I was 18 years old,” Listri told BuzzFeed News, “but I’m also a bibliophile — everything about libraries attracts me. The smell of dust, the wood, the leather, the curiosity to open every book.”
“For me, libraries are the most beautiful environments in the world,” Listri goes on. “In addition to objective beauty, you also find a continuation and conservation of knowledge. I hope people walk away with a sense of curiosity and surprise that these cathedrals of knowledge can incite.”
Here are some of the mesmerizing libraries featured in The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.