Shopping in Venice
Ten places in which to find souvenirs you'll never forget!
If miniature plastic gondolas and carnival masks are not your thing; if you want to take a bit of Venice back home with you, but hate the tacky tat trafficked to tourists, take a note of these shops, where you'll be able to pick up unconventional, authentic and 100% Venetian souvenirs of Italy's lagoon city.
Venice through the looking glass
Everybody knows that Venice is a magical and mysterious city, making it the perfect place in which to purchase a magical and mysterious memento, - such as a 'Witches Mirror'! In the city's Dorsoduro district; there's an artisan who still makes Venetian "oeil de sorcière" by hand. For centuries these carefully crafted convex mirrors, which offer an incredibly wide viewing angle, have been transfixing all those who gaze into them.
- Canestrelli - calle della Toletta 1073 Dorsoduro (VE)
Soft touches: velvet and damask
Sixteenth century records state that there were as many as 5000 looms in the city of Venice at the time. Today, artisan textiles are produced in just a few exclusive workshops, all of which are more than worth a visit - if only for their immense historic charm. Hidden away in a tiny little square in the district of Santa Croce, the Antica Tessitura di Luigi Bevilacqua is an enchanting place, in which the only noise is that made by the 18th century looms. Here you can purchase the same velvet and damask which has been used to decorate the most sumptuous residences in Europe. A couple of yards of the precious material is all you'll need to transform that chair or footstool, into an authentic piece of the Serenissima.
- Antica tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua - campiello della Comare 1320 Santa Croce (VE)
Get your money's worth: in beads of glass
Venice's glass beads, or "conterie", were once used as currency in the city's African markets. The making of glass beads in Venice is a centuries' old art, today endangered by the arrival of mass produced beads, made abroad, and sold to tourists as souvenirs. You can still find original Venetian beads here:
- Anticlea Antiquariato - calle San Provolo 1041 Castello (VE)
A tiny shop filled with old and antique beads, often in the form of necklaces. If you're lucky, the owner might even show you her private collection.
- Paropamiso - Frezzeria 1701 San Marco (VE)
From Africa to Venice and back, here you can pick up Venetian beads from Africa as well as precious stones and exquisite items of ethnic jewelry.
- Attombri - sottoportego degli Oresi 74 San Polo (VE)
If you're looking for exclusive jewelry realized with Venetian beads, this little shop, almost underneath the Rialto bridge, is a real find!. Brothers, Stefano and Daniele Attombri, create necklaces and earrings using miniscule antique beads, silver and metal. Each piece is as unique as it is unforgettable.
Wierd and wonderful spectacles: Four-eyed Venice
They say that it was in Venice, in the 13th century, that the first ever eyeglasses were made. Today, at Micromega, you can purchase a pair of the world's lightest glasses, patented by Roberto Carlon, famous for his glasses' feather-weight titanium frames. Vintage victim? You can pick up reproductions of the glasses worn by Peggy Guggenheim in the Guggenheim Museum shop.
- Micromega - calle delle Ostreghe 1436 San Marco (VE)
- Museum Shop - fondamenta Venier dei Leoni 701 Dorsoduro (VE)
Books to remember. A souvenir you won't forget
From a classic guidebook to a detailed history of the gondola, the choice of fascinating Venice themed volumes is endless, especially in specialist bookshops like those listed below:
- Mare di Carta - fondamenta dei Tolentini 222 Santa Croce (VE)
The sea and the lagoon are the major protagonists in this bookshop where as well as novels, you can find rare nautical maps and pilot charts.
- Linea d'Acqua - calle della Mandola 3717 San Marco (VE)
The history, art and secrets of Venice. A bookshop designed for those eager to discover a different Venice.
- Libreria Acqua Alta - Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa 5176 Castello (VE)
A gondola, boats and bath tubs. Books get everywhere in this, Venice's most eclectic bookshop - as do the four cats which live here!
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