Let us guide you through shopping in Venice, suggesting what to buy, where find shops of specific products and best markets of the city.
The power and richness of Venice has historically always been linked to the commerce. The subtle and mysterious beauty of the city doesn’t veil its commercial character also nowadays. In every narrow alley and hidden corner you see endless rows of botteghe – little, mostly artisan shops. Certain Venetian products have been world-famous for centuries, like the carnival masks, glass of Murano and laces of Burano, and sophisticated leather products.
Souvenirs, Gifts and Typical Products from Venice
Venice offers some of the most sophisticated, original and high quality products in the world. The choice of spectacular artisan, handmade products is overwhelming. Here are some tips for things worth taking back home.
1. Carnival Masks
One of the most demanded items for shopping in Venice and the souvenirs most acclaimed by tourists are the carnival masks. The legendary Venetian carnival is one of the most popular in the world and masks are one of the essential accessories in all the celebrations.
The Venetian masks have the particularity that their design and elaboration are totally handmade, from their contour made with clay, to the decoration and painting that is done with great care, skill and dedication.
These masks are usually made in craft workshops and each of their manufacturers has his own method. The price varies depending on the design, work and materials used, the cheapest can be purchased for fifteen or twenty euro in any store. Some shops of popular masks in Venice are Tragicomica (located in Calle San Polo), Cà del Sol and Bottega dei Mascareri. A curiosity: the latter was in charge of elaborating the Carnival masks for the film Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise.
Apart from the masks, look for tricorni: three-cornered Carnival hats.
2. Murano Glass
The Murano glass is a classic product of Venice, with an extensive historical trajectory that dates nothing less than from the 13th century. The Murano glass objects constitute true works of art that can be bought in workshops and souvenir shops, sometimes at very cheap, other times at exaggerated prices. You will find everything: from vases to lamps, from earrings to ashtrays, from goblets to necklaces.
3. Burano Lace
Venetian lace has been the symbol of the finest level of lacemaking art for centuries. The patterns are so extremely delicate and intricate that they were called “points in the air”. They were used for collars and cuffs for both women and men, and for church robes. Nowadays, you can purchase lace tablecloths, napkins, collars, gloves, decorations for windows, umbrellas and many other items. Look for them in the island of Burano, and if you don’t have time to go there, you will find them in souvenir shops in the main island of Venice.
4. Handmade Marbled Paper and Stationary
Handmade marbled paper is another typical Venetian product, used for decorating and making handicrafts. It can be purchased in stationary shops throughout the city. Venetian stationary products are like nothing you have ever seen before – they look like something a king would use. Absolute exquisite!
5. Handbags & Accessories
Italy is paradise of refined and sophisticated accessories that you will just want to have. Leather goods are of sensual and seductive design, always perfectly elegant. The choice of handbags made in Italy exceeds anything you can find in other countries, both in terms of designs and the incredible range of colours. Personally, I never leave Italy without a new handbag. Other recommended items include leather gloves, wallets, belts.
Some affordable producers include: Carpisa, Camomilla, Motivi, Alviero Martini Prima Classe.
Less affordable: Piquadro, Coccinelle.
The most famous: Prada, Valentino, Furla, Fendi, Miu Miu, Gucci.
Venice is one of the most luxury and high-end city in the world, often hosting the rich and famous. Strolling on its street, you will surely see some spectacular fashionistas in dresses you hardly ever see elsewhere. Therefore, if you feel rich, this is the place to go for extreme luxury fashion shopping. Those who wish to acquire haute couture garments of exclusive Italian brands including Prada, Versace, Gucci, Valentino and Bottega Veneta, etc., should know that all the hot spots are concentrated around Piazza San Marco. It is one of the main shopping areas in the city where you can spend the whole day in exquisite boutiques, making stops in many cafes, bars and restaurants while enjoying the charming environment.
Those looking for more standard fashion brands at more affordable prices can find Italian brands as popular in Italy and Europe as Stefanel, Miss Sixty, Pinko, Benetton, among others, located between Campo San Bartolomeo and Santi Apostoli.
Italian shoes are renown for style, sexy and sophisticated forms, softness of leather and durability.
Some affordable producers include: Nero Giardini, Igi&Co, Cafè Noir, and innovative and super-comfortable Geox.
Less affordable: Sergio Rossi, Tod’s.
The most famous: Armani, Valentino, Gucci, Just Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta.
Range of Italian cheeses is infinite. The most famous ones include: Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella di Bufala, Provolone, Pecorino Romano, Asiago.
A selection of excellent cheeses can be found in any grocery store or supermarket.
9. Cold Cuts
There is plenty of choice of Italian cured meats. The famous ones include Prosciutto di Parma, Bresaola, and different types of salame, salsiccia, guanciale or spicy sausages with chilli from Calabria. Again: look for them in a grocery store or supermarket, or in a specialized delicatessen shop.
10. Textile Products
Among many other things, Venice is famous for great quality textiles, such as silk and velvet with embroidery in retro style. It is worth looking for some spectacular, opulent bed covers, pillowcases or curtains of sophisticated patterns – they will look like taken straight from a palace!
Shopping in Venice
Venice has infinitely many luxury shops and small craft shops, and a few markets. The standard opening hours are from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening from Monday to Saturday, although they usually close a couple of hours at lunchtime and the grocery stores are usually open from 8 in the morning.
For luxury brands, check out Portici – portico along Piazza San Marco, and Le Mercerie – the area between Ponte di Rialto and Piazza San Marco. Another address is Salizada San Moisè.
For artisan shops, the best area is along San Samuele. Carnival mask workshops are located in Castello area.
Souvenirs and more affordable items can be found in Campo Santo Stefano and Campo San Polo.
Guide to Markets of Venice
Market of the Miracles of Venice
It is undoubtedly one of the best markets in the world, where you can find everything: from furniture, love letters written during the Second World War, talismans of sailors or books from the eighteenth century. This market’s shops are ideal for people who want to bring highly original souvenirs of their visit to Venice, and also if you want to get a gift for a special person or if you simply love antiques. This market is located in one of the streets of Fondamente Nuove, near the famous Giorgio Franchetti Gallery.
This street market is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the last weekends of March and April, and the first day of May, September, October and December. This place is really worth your attention, the prices of the items sold here are totally accessible. When entering this place you may be completely sure that you will not leave empty-handed.
Address: Cannaregio, Campo Santa Maria Nova, 30121, Venice
Antique Market of Venice
This market is a great tourist attraction. It is a huge antiques fair sponsored by the town hall which takes place three times a year in Campo San Mauricio, in the first week of April, the second week of September and the weekend before Christmas, although dates may vary a little each year. More than 50 vendors exhibit in their stalls all kinds of antiques which make spectacular souvenirs – in that way you can take with you a piece of the history of Venice.
The objects that can be acquired in the Antiques Market of Venice are very varied, including engravings, books, postcards, Murano glass and other objects of historical value. You can easily spend hours visiting the different stalls and admiring all the objects that this market has to offer.
Address: St. Mark’s Square, 121-144, 30124 Venice, Italy
Rialto Market in Venice
The Rialto Market is one of the first recommended when you want to go shopping in Venice. The important thing here is to bear in mind that it is a typical and traditional place where fresh food is sold in stalls and stores.
The location is part of the attraction of this market, because both the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge play the role of decoration of the surroundings.
The Market, its history and curiosities:
The first mentions of this picturesque place are known approximately from the year 1097 when it was fulfilling the function of the main market of Venice and thus it represented the ideal space to exchange, sell or simply carry out diverse commercial activities.
At present it is quite famous for the delicious foodstuffs that are sold here. They say that if you have the opportunity to go there in the middle of the night you will see the arrival of the merchandise coming from the neighbouring islands.
What you will find:
Once you start your tour, you will notice that the market is divided into two large areas called La Erbaria and La Pescaria to impart a bit of order and at the same time to make the visitors unfold more easily.
The part called La Erbaria provides you with fruits and thousands of vegetables, always fresh and appetizing, while in La Pescaria you will find all kinds of fish and seafood such as crabs, rays or squid. We recommend you take the opportunity to savour appetizing snacks followed by a bubbly wine such as prosecco.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday between 09:00 and 12:00 in the morning, while the fishery starts its services a little earlier.
Address: Ponte di Rialto, Venice, Italy, 30124
Market of Via Garibaldi in Venice
This market offers a wide selection of fresh, healthy and very colourful food, just as the Rialto market. It is also very popular with tourists and locals and often gets crowded. It is open from Monday to Friday from early morning, until around twelve o’clock when vendors start to dismantle their stalls, so it is advisable to go early to do the shopping, so that you can take advantage of the best food at bargain prices.
In this market you can find stalls that offer different products at very low prices, making purchases in Via Garibaldi very satisfying. The joyful bustle of the market will set you in a good mood, and here you can experience some truly Italian atmosphere, interacting with friendly sellers and at the same time, making all the necessary purchases to prepare a delicious dinner.
Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 30122 Venice, Italy
More on Shopping in Venice
This guide of shopping in Venice was prepared basing on my 4 visits to Venice. I hope you find it useful and easy to consult. Do you have any questions or suggestions? Don’t hesitate to write them in the comments below!