(Venice, Veneto, Italy)
Venice is without doubt one of the main centres for shopping in Italy and the numerous districts provide a shopper's paradise. Whether you are looking for high fashion, antiques, furniture or home accessories, rest assured that shopping in Venice, Italy will provide you with a huge choice. You can even admire the wonderful monuments, statues and fountains as you walk downtown for some serious Venice shopping.
Venice shops are generally open:
- Monday - 15:30 to 19:30 (some shops may be open in the morning)
- Tuesday to Saturday - 09:30 / 10:00 to 13:00 and 15:30 to 19:00 / 19:30 (some shops do not close for the afternoon break)
Where to Shop in Venice
Running down from the Piazza San Marco to the Rialto area, the Mercerie and the nearby Calle dei Fabbri have been the main shopping streets in Venice for hundreds of years, attracting crowds of shoppers. There are some interesting and more unusual shops slightly to the west of San Marco, in Frezzeria. Grander, more up-market stores can be found lined up from the Piazza to the Accademia Bridge and these provide a wide-range of merchandise. For souvenirs and gifts, one of the best places to go are the streets just north of Campo Santo Stefano, where gift shops are plentiful.
For a wide choice of some less expensive shops, the narrow streets from the Rialto area to San Polo, just across the Grand Canal, are ideal. These interesting shops are full of character, atmosphere and often some real bargains. Locals tend to buy their everyday goods from the busy Lista di Spagna and Strada Nova, near the station, where the shops cater more for the locals, rather than tourists.
Fashion and Accessories
In the San Marco area of Venice, top fashion designer outlets are plentiful, with famous names including Armani, Laura Biagiotti, Gucci, Krizia, MaxMara, Missoni, Prada, Trussardi, Valentino and Versace, to name but a few, all near to the Piazza. For more outrageous and contemporary design, be sure to visit Fiorella in Campo Santo Stefano, where there are plenty of stylish outfits to be found. In the Calle della Mandola and the shops around the Mercerie, you will find an excellent selection of leather goods, including chic shoes bags, wallets and also a wide-range of colourful, traditional Venetian slippers.
Fabrics and Interior Design
Venice is known for its fine silk and glorious velvets and many shops sell an enormous range of beautiful fabrics. There are many designer silks sold by the metre, including the gossamer-fine pleated silks invented by Fortuny for his Delphos dresses. If you are searching for traditional Venetian fabric, try one of the following outlets:
- The House of Rubelli in the Palazzo Corner Spinelli on the Grand Canal - rich brocades and velvets
- Color Casa in San Polo - wonderful, reasonably priced textiles
- Jesurum - near to the Bridge of Sighs, for fine linens and delicate lingerie
There are also a number of very stylish shops that specialise in traditional and modern interior design, selling many home accessories. The Lido's Gran Viale has several shops in the city that are worth visiting for great design ideas and general inspiration.
The nearby island of Murano is the best place to go for Venetian glassware, where it has been made for over 700 years. With simple, traditional designs and more contemporary glassware, Murano factories have large showrooms, to display the glass at its best. There are also some attractive pieces for sale in the city centre and there are several shops in the San Marco region selling both original and reproduction antique glassware.
Masks and Costumes
Venice is well-known for its amazing masks and costumes and cheap, mass-produced masks can be readily purchased throughout the city. However, genuine masks make great souvenirs and the Laboratorio Artigiano Maschere in Castello specialises in traditional mask making, with some truly splendid and eye-catching designs. You can also find a good selection of masks and some rather stunning costumes just off Campo Santa Margherita in Mondonovo, and at Tragicomica near Campo San Polo. Leading up to the main carnival time, Venice mask makers are understandably very busy, but normally they will welcome visitors and are pleased to demonstrate their craft - some even hold workshops.
The arcades of Piazza San Marco are home to some of Venice's best jewellers, namely Missiaglia and Nardi, with an enormous range of jewellery to suit all tastes and most budgets. Near to the Rialto Bridge are more jewellers, selling cheaper designs, including some nice bracelets, chains, earrings, necklaces and glass beads known as 'perle veneziane'. Price is determined by the weight of the gold.
Department stores in Italy are not very common and Venice is no exception, with mainly small, individual shops. The main department store is Coin, a large chain store that sells everything you could possibly want. There are also some cheaper smaller stores in other towns in the Veneto area and these are more like supermarkets in style.
Books and Gifts
There are several good art and craft shops in the San Barnaba area, selling traditional and more unusual souvenirs and gifts. These include carved, wooden ornaments, toys, tapestries, paper objects, Venice masks and even model gondolas.
There are also plenty of bookshops of varying size in Venice, with many bargains and some selling secondhand titles. One of the largest and best is Goldoni, in Calle dei Fabbri, which stocks maps as well as a wide range of books.
When purchasing traditional lace, it is cheaper to buy lace on the island of Burano rather than in the city centre, although the cheaper lace is often imported. The handmade lace may be expensive, but the quality is exquisite.
Postcards are for sale everywhere and these are usually views of the city, churches and many of the other outstanding buildings.
There are several large antiques shops in and around both San Maurizio and Santa Maria Zobenigo, although these can be expensive. For antique bargains in Venice, look out for the many antiques fairs that appear throughout the year.