The tower, belonging to the church of the same name, is one of the masterpieces of the famous architect Nasoni and a landmark in the city of Porto. It has six floors, stands 76 metres high and the top is reached by climbing the 225 steps of a narrow spiral staircase.From the outside the church is eight-sided but inside it has an elliptic floor plan (in typically Baroque style). The entrance to the church is reached by a double staircase with a balustrade. The granite façade is designed in the traditional Baroque style of the north of Portugal and is divided into two storeys. The first contains a doorway with a large window above it and two side windows separated by fantastically ornate capitals. The second storey contains another large ornate window, flanked by shell-shaped niches containing statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.The interior of the church has only one elliptic nave with an arched dome. The chancel has a wonderful polychrome marble Louis XV altarpiece. Beneath a throne bearing an image of the Virgin Mary stands an urn containing relics (bones and blood) of the martyr St. Innocent.But, of course, the challenge is to climb the tower and enjoy a view of the entire city. There is no lift, so it is only for those with stamina.
The interior is decorated in plaster painted to look like wood. A very imposing stairway leads to the upper floor where a huge stained glass pane in the ceiling displays the monogram and motto of the bookshop (which is also a publishing house): "Decus in Labore". And, of course, there are books everywhere.
The Spanish writer Enrique Villa-Matas said that it was the most beautiful bookshop in the world. The British newspaper The Guardian called it “divine” and nominated it the third most beautiful in the world. Not to be missed.