Shopping in Venice 101: Essential Tips from a Local

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Attention, shoppers! If you’re searching for a shopping experience that marries unique finds with the charm of old-world craftsmanship, look no further than the enchanting city of Venice, Italy.

From the bustling shopping streets to the quaint boutiques tucked away in the city’s corners, Venice offers a shopping experience like no other.

Whether you’re hunting for vintage treasures, looking for high-end fashion at the best clothes shops, or exploring the city’s famous markets, Venice has something for every shopper.

Since I have been living near Venice for the past six years, I have the inside scoop on how and where to shop like a true Venetian. Follow along with me as we explore what shopping in Venice, Italy is like!

Read my foodie’s guide on what to eat in Venice!

Highlights of Venetian Shopping Experience

Unlike your typical shopping destinations, Venice isn’t known for its glitzy department stores or designer boutiques. Instead, it offers something far more precious: a handful of highly specialized, wonderfully old-school artisan shops, where you can find items that tell a story, items that are handcrafted with skill, passion, and a touch of Venetian magic.

Piazza San Marco and the San Polo district are popular places to explore, and you won’t want to miss the beautiful paper shops that Venice is known for.

If you’re in Venice in December, then you are in for a shopping treat as there are loads of Christmas markets selling unique handmade goods to take home as gifts. Visiting in January is also a great time if you are a shopper as that is when the stores have their annual sales.

Calle Larga XXII Marzo

Calle Larga XXII Marzo is a must-visit destination for any fashion enthusiast or luxury shopper. This renowned shopping street, known for its high-end boutiques and luxury brands, offers the best shopping in Venice that perfectly blends the historical charm of the historic center with the allure of contemporary fashion.

Calle Larga XXII Marzo shopping district venice dolce e gabbana

Just a stone’s throw from San Marco, the street itself is beautifully maintained, reflecting the timeless elegance of Venice with boutiques such as Gucci, Prada, and Armani. As you stroll down Calle Larga XXII Marzo, you are surrounded by the grandeur of Venetian architecture, which adds to the overall shopping experience. The street is easily accessible and conveniently located, making it a perfect spot for both locals and tourists to indulge in some retail therapy.

Exploring the Artisan Shops of Venice

Each shop in Venice tells its own tale, offering a unique sensory experience that evokes the city’s rich heritage. As you wander through its narrow streets, imposing Piazza San Marco, and grand arcades, you’ll encounter a world of hand-stitched linens, antique glassware, hand-crafted jewelry, and much more. Let’s explore some of these hidden gems, and consider shopping in Venice on your next trip.

Check out my picks for the most romantic hotels in Venice!

Handcrafted Items: Venice’s Hidden Gems

Venice prides itself on its artisanal tradition. Its shops are treasure troves of handcrafted items, many of which are made following centuries-old techniques and designs. Calle Seconda dei Saoneri is a narrow alley known for its artisanal boutiques and antique shops.

Evem Sas Ricami e Merletti: Embroidered Elegance

This Wes Anderson-esque linen shop not far from San Marco is where you’ll find starched, frilly, retro perfection. Everything sold here is hand-stitched and hand-embroidered, from table linens to baby clothes, each piece a testament to the incredible level of detail and craftsmanship the shop upholds.

Pied à Terre: Venice’s Chic Gondolier Slippers

gondolier shoes

Hidden behind a market stall near the Rialto bridge, Pied à Terre is the place to buy furlane—the chic gondolier slippers that have become a sort of hallmark of low-key Italian style. The shop offers a variety of colors, fabrics, and styles, with the velvet Salome style being a classic favorite.

Giuliana Longo: Artisanal Hats for Every Taste

Giuliana Longo has been hand-crafting and importing hats for decades. From simple straw sun hats to velvet-trimmed Carnevale confections, the shop caters to a variety of styles and preferences, offering both curious tourists and elderly local gentlemen an array of unique options.

Unique Souvenirs: Venice’s Artisanal Boutiques

One of the joys of shopping in Venice is discovering unique souvenirs that can’t be found anywhere else. These artisanal boutiques are sure to provide you with memorable keepsakes of your Venetian journey.

Libreria Acqua Alta: A Treasure Trove of Vintage Books

libreria aqua alta sign

Libreria Acqua Alta, named after the flood tides that occasionally submerge parts of the city, is a charming vintage bookshop that houses its rare books in bathtubs and decommissioned gondolas. Besides books, the shop also offers postcards, magnets, and other knick-knacks, making it a perfect place to find a unique souvenir when shopping in Venice.

cat among the souvenirs at libreria aqua alta

The store is filled with stacks of new and used books in various languages including English books, and it’s not uncommon to see a cat lounging among them. One of the highlights of the store is a staircase made of old encyclopedias, which leads to a view of a nearby canal. You can read my full review of the Acqua Alta bookstore here.

Antonia Miletto Gioielli: Handmade Jewelry with a Twist

With its orange-silk walls, Antonia Miletto Gioielli is hard to miss. Inside, you’ll find handmade jewelry that combines unconventional materials like ebony and diamonds or coral and amber. Known for using wood in her designs, Miletto creates smooth, organic shapes that she pairs with gold or pave diamonds. A pair of feather-shaped earrings would make a splendid reminder of your shopping in Venice adventure.

How much time to spend in Venice? Read my two day itinerary here!

Discovering Venice’s Specialized Shops

Venice is a city of masters. Its specialized shops are run by skilled artisans, who create and curate unique, high-quality goods.

Martinuzzi: Classic Made-in-Venice Homewares

A homewares shop nestled under one of the Piazza San Marco arcades, Martinuzzi is all about traditional elegance. Here you’ll find classic, made-in-Venice pieces for the home, from hefty Murano glass goblets to Burano lace-trimmed tablecloths and delicate glass figurines.

Gianni Basso Stampatore: Personalized Stationery and Prints

Gianni Basso Stampatore, an old-school stationery atelier, offers a selection of handmade correspondence cards, invitations, bookplates, and business cards. You can even order a set of personalized stationery, choosing from a selection of stamps or having one custom-designed.

Alberto Valese Paper Shop Cartoleria: Colorful Marbled Paper

marbled paper shopping in venice

This bright beautiful paper shop in Campo Santo Stefano specializes in ebru, or paper marbling. Besides marbled paper, the shop also sells cards, notebooks, and small accessories stamped with colorful Venetian designs. The store’s products, from pocket-sized notebooks to frameable one-off prints layered with gold leaf, make great gifts or souvenirs.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi

The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is an intriguing blend of history and modern luxury shopping in Venice, nestled in the heart of Venice, Italy. Situated near the iconic Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal, the department store building itself is a testament to the Italian Renaissance building architectural style, offering a unique shopping in Venice experience steeped in history.

inside fondaco tedeschi mall

The building, first constructed in 1228 and rebuilt between 1505 and 1508, served various roles throughout history, from the headquarters for the city’s German merchants to the Venice headquarters of the Poste Italiane. Today, it houses a T Galleria duty-free store, part of the DFS Group, offering a wide range of luxury products.

The shopping center is a blend of the past and the present. The grand inner courtyard, a medieval well, and the façade with large rounded arcades are a constant reminder of the building’s rich history. There is an elevator that will take you to the roof where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Rialto Bridge from above.

N.B.: You must book your free visit to the terrace in advance. You can do that by clicking here.

Exploring Venetian Glassware

Venice is renowned for its glassware, especially from the island of Murano. Exploring these Murano glass shops is a chance to appreciate this ancient art form.

L’Angolo Del Passato: Antique and Contemporary Glassware

L’Angolo Del Passato is a sanctuary for lovers of Murano glass. The owner, Giordana Naccari, curates a selection of antique glassware and works by contemporary local artists, offering a balance of old and new that is truly refreshing.

Permanently closed!

Emilia Burano: Linen, Lace, and Legacy

Emilia Burano, a three-floor linen and lace shop, is an institution in Burano, the heart of lace-making in Venice. Here you’ll find everything from embroidered napkins to luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets. The shop also houses a mini museum showcasing antique pieces from the brand’s archives.

A Taste of Venice: Antica Drogheria Mascari

Shopping in Venice isn’t just about clothes and home decor—it’s also a culinary adventure. Antica Drogheria Mascari, a spice shop that transports you to another century, offers beautifully packaged candies and biscuits, dried fruit and nuts, and niche booze, including cases of Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella.

Try some food shopping after reading my guide on the Rialto Markets!

Shopping in Venice Conclusion

Venice is more than just a city—it’s a living museum, an artisan’s workshop, a gourmet’s delight, and a shopper’s paradise. Each boutique in the city is a world unto itself, reflecting the art, culture, and spirit of Venice. As you wander through its streets and canals, you’re not just shopping—you’re embarking on an unforgettable journey.

Whether you’re in search of unique souvenirs, bespoke fashion, or gourmet treats, Venice shopping offers an experience like no other. So come, explore, and immerse yourself in the magic of Venetian craftsmanship. Happy shopping!

Sal Presti

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