From souvenirs, local fine produce, a special gift or just good old retail therapy, you’ll find shopping everywhere. But if you find an item you simply must have, buy on the spot. Making your way through the maze of streets to find the same shop again can be particularly tricky.
1. High end retail
Most luxury fashion labels and high end jewellery and art boutiques are located on Calle Larga XXII Marzo. This wide street (by Venetian standard) is the ‘Fifth Avenue’ of the city starting at Piazza San Marco to Campo Santo Stefano near the Accademia.
2. Venetian carnival masks
Each February the city bursts with colour and celebration for carnival and you’ll find a huge variety of masks from inexpensive to theatre-quality everywhere. If its quality you want, Mondo Novo is the real deal, they specialise in custom designed, ornate papier-mâché masks.
3. Murano glass
Like masks, you’ll find glass in varying degrees of quality. Authentic hand-blown glass from the island of Murano will be pricier but souvenir ornaments, bowls, glass beaded jewellery and sculptures are sold absolutely everywhere. Just pack your items carefully for the trip home!
4. Burano lace
In the 16th century Burano became famous for its handmade lace. Today there’s only one school left teaching the hand-tatting technique. Visit The Scuola dei Merletti in Burano to visit the museum or buy the lacework. It’s time consuming to make, hence the price tag.
5. Hit the markets
The Rialto Market is consistently buzzing with tourists and locals alike. You’ll find stallholders selling freshly caught seafood and seasonal produce to locals and food lovers will love the array of sweets. Arrive early to watch the action as stalls typically close up before midday.
6. Browse for souvenirs
Just wander the city and you’ll find everything from postcards to carnival masks, handmade artwork, jewellery even marionette makers everywhere, so you’ll find souvenirs for everyone. Boutique and international retail clothing brands such as Zara and H&M are also available if you look for them.
7. Grab a good read
You’ll find shops carrying books in English scattered around if you need a new fiction novel, travel guide or just a coffee table book on Venetian life. Libreria Studium and Libreria Bertoni Mario are both in San Marco offering a good collection of English books.
8. Wine like a local
Bottle shops are fairly easily found but if you want to drink like a local bring an empty wine bottle from the night before to Nave de Oro where locals refill it with table wine at an incredibly inexpensive rate of about 2€ per litre.
9. Grab a bite
Food lovers should head to Aliani Gastronomia, a deli-style grocer offering a good selection of Italian cheeses and meats from all over the country. Local supermarket chain Coop are common and a good place to pick up a quick takeaway snack or another staple item.
10. Go vintage
Take home a treasure you won’t find anywhere else and spend some time in the antique shops. Shops like Antiquus on Fondamenta Gerardini have everything from antique jewellery, Burano lace and silver to vintage glass pieces and artwork, as does Antichità Claudia Zaggia near Accademia.