Italian collector Livia Satriano thinks a book should definitely be judged by its cover. ‘If it is true that an ugly cover can sometimes hide a surprise inside, a beautiful cover rarely has disappointing content behind it,’ she says.

Her recently launched online bookstore Libri Belli offers a selection from her ever-growing collection of books, which she has sourced over the years from second-hand stores, vintage markets and online libraries. Libri Belli – meaning beautiful books, although its direct English translation fails to convey the humorously nostalgic connotations – stocks a growing selection of unusual titles.

The selection currently includes everything from a history of witchcraft to a practical guide to prostitution from the 1970s, and will soon offer a series of particularly beautiful editions of classic books, with a mix of fiction and non-fiction titles. Although the subject matter is as diverse as it comes, the titles share a common thread in their beautifully designed covers, combining bright illustrations and typography.

‘I have been accumulating these books on my shelves for years,’ says Satriano. ‘Now it’s time for them to see the light.’ Settle in and flick through the best titles of the bunch.

RELATED TOPICS: GRAPHIC DESIGN, BOOKS