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Shopping in Venice

Shopping in Venice can be disappointing. People often write to me, lamenting that all they find are tacky souvenir shops selling stuff that wasn't even made in Italy, let alone Venice.

It doesn't have to be like that, though.

The great news is that there are some real gems scattered throughout the city, selling products made in Venice, everything from glass to shoes to lace; let's discover them...

Scroll down to the bottom of the article for the Shopping in Venice FAQ

Masks and Glass

Shopping in Venice - MasksCasin dei Nobili

Two of the most popular and beautiful items to purchase in Venice are masks and glass. It's not as easy to find quality as you might expect.

Most shops seem to sell poor imitations from China, but the real ones are still there if you look carefully and know where to go.

To help you, there's our guide to the masks, where you'll find details about Casin dei Nobili, the wonderful little store in the photo. I walk into Casin dei Nobili, and I feel like I've walked into an Aladdin's cave filled with wonders. Much to the irritation of my husband, I can spend ages in here.

For glass shopping, here's my Murano glass article.


Sometimes the soul of a city is to be found in its markets; this is the case in many ways with Venice.

Venetians still throng the stalls and streets around them; young and old, they meet in a vibrant taste of a Venice before the tourist invasion.

Old people seem to use market day as a time to catch up with old friends from neighboring districts and share the latest gossip. Housewives haggle with stall owners while excited kids and dogs run here and there, trying (not) to trip up everyone.

Which are the best markets? These are my favorites:


Rialto MarketRialto Market

For sheer life and color, no market in Venice is better than the Rialto market, and no market in the world has a better setting. Here, in the shadow of the Rialto Bridge, an early morning ritual has been happening for close to a thousand years.

It starts with the arrival of the barges at dawn, and as they offload, so begins a complete bedlam of shouting, joking, and hard work.

It all looks chaotic to me, but there is method in the madness, and by 6 a.m., the market is in full throttle.

Make sure you get here early to experience it all. Around the market are lots of little bars that open when the market does or even before; they are perfect for grabbing a quick breakfast of a cappuccino or espresso and a delicious pastry before tackling the market.

When it comes to buying fish, vegetables, or fruit, this is the best market in the city from which to do so. So, if you are self-catering, load up on supplies for your stay.

Mercatino delle Robe da Mar

One of the markets I enjoy most is this one in Via Garibaldi in the Castello District.

Via Garibaldi is a great street with some fascinating shops, but the market really is the cherry on top.

It's only held in October, the same weekend as the Venice Marathon. If you're here, then it's a great spot to pick up a unique souvenir from one of the many stalls selling antiques and unusual bric-a-brac.

Mercatino di San Maurizio

The best market in Venice for antiques is this one in Campo San Maurizio; it's held four or five times a year. Check out the market's website ( for the dates. It's in Italian, but the dates are easy to see on the right side of the page.


🚩 Stroll across the Rialto Bridge, take a ride on a traditional gondola along the Grand Canal, see St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and other magnificent places in just a day!

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Designer Shops

Versace Shop in Venice, ItalyVersace Venice

I know I'm Italian and I'm supposed to love designers, but I don't. However, if you're like most Italians and need designer clothes as much as your daily pasta, then head to Calle delle Mercerie or Calle Larga XXII Marzo. Both are near St Mark's Square and have enough expensive designer boutiques to satisfy the most needy designer soul.

Bags, Flags and Shoes

Shopping for leather bags in Venice? Every second shop seems to sell them. Most are actually made in China, with final assembly being done in Italy in order that they can stick a Made in Italy label on the bag.

For real Made in Italy bags, visit Balducci Borse in Cannaregio 1593. Franco has been making bags by hand for decades in his small studio and selling them in his little shop. These bags are not just bags, but works of art and labors of love.

Leather Bags in VeniceBalducci Borse

Shoes: there are a few world class shoe stores in Venice. For handmade men's dress shoes, try the world renowned Gabriele Gmeiner in Campiello del Sol,  San Polo 951. This tiny little workroom/store is hidden away in a tiny little square, reached down a tiny little lane. Hard to find it most certainly is. Worth the effort? Definitely!

Handmade Men's Dress Shoes in VeniceGabriele Gmeiner

Want a pair of Venetian slippers? 

Visit PiedĂ terre in S. Polo, 60, Rialto. The slippers are truly like wrapping your feet in silk and floating on air. They also produce a few bags, which are of great quality too, super stylish, and loved by locals. The bags sell out really quickly, so don't think about it. If you see something you like, buy it immediately. It will be gone the next day.

Venetian Slipper StorePiedĂ Terre

Flags: They sell Venetian flags everywhere, but don't buy those cheap imitations that start falling apart and fading once you get them home. Rather, visit A. Santi di Moschini in Castello, Calle delle Bande 5276; their flags are the real thing—absolutely quality—and they are extremely helpful and knowledgeable too if you are looking for something in particular.

The Famous Lace from Burano

Burano by Oktay Kasman

Burano is a colorful little island famous for its lace and only a short boat trip away from Venice. It's worth visiting just to see the fishermen's cottages painted in every color of the rainbow and to enjoy an atmosphere that's a world away from that of Venice.

If you love top-quality lace, then you'll be in lace heaven here. The lace they make is the best in the world, and they've been perfecting their techniques for over 500 years. They even have a lace museum in Piazza Galupi, which is well worth a visit. Whatever you need made for you out of lace, they can make it. You won't believe some of the requests they get.

In terms of buying, Martina Vidal in Via San Mauro 309 is one of the most famous shops, although it is expensive. There are a lot of other little shops and studios; however anything genuine and locally made is going to cost a lot. Considering it is all handmade and the best on earth, the prices are reasonable. 

A Book Store like no other

Acqua Alta BookstoreAcqua Alta Bookstore

For an experience second to none, you simply must visit the Acqua Alta bookstore at 5167/B Sestiere Castello.

This isn't a bookstore; it's an incredible experience. You feel like you've fallen down a rabbit hole into wonderland.

There are books everywhere. Thousands of them.

They are in bathtubs, in a gondola, from floor to ceiling. A canal laps at the door, and well-fed cats laze languidly on book shelves.

I can't really describe it—you've got to visit yourself. If you visit, please buy a book, any book, simply to support this Venetian institution. You can see more photos and find more information here.

If it's English books you're after, Wellington Books in Calle de la Mandola is by far the best option. They've got a really good selection of books, from classics to the latest best sellers, and they're all in English.

The Ghetto

Shop in Venice - CannaregioAntichitĂ  al Ghetto

Venice's ghetto (view guide) is considered by Time Magazine to be "one of the world's 100 most important places".

It's not only historically important, though; it's also a great place to shop, and you'll find very few tourists here.

I love the little art galleries and antique shops scattered about the neighborhood, with AntichitĂ  al Ghetto on the edge of the ghetto at 1133 Cannaregio being a particular favorite.

The ghetto also has some superb delicatessens and bakeries filled with tempting treats. Spend a morning here, and you'll not regret it, I promise.

For the Children

Handmade boat store in VeniceGilberto Penzo

There aren't a lot of toy shops in Venice, but boys and dads will love Gilberto Penzo's boat store in San Polo 2681, Calle Seconda dei Saoneri, 30125. Gilberto makes the most incredible scale models of gondolas and other traditional Venetian boats; each one is a work of art and hand-carved from wood. He also sells DIY kits (my son absolutely loves them) and little wooden boats in bottles.

Handcrafted wooden boatsGilberto Penzo's boat store

FAQ about Shopping in Venice

What are the best shopping areas in Venice?

Venice offers several renowned shopping districts. The Rialto Bridge area is famous for its historic markets selling fresh produce, seafood, and souvenirs. The streets near St. Mark's Square are home to upscale boutiques and designer brands. Additionally, the Dorsoduro neighborhood offers art galleries and unique shops, while the San Polo area boasts antique shops and artisan workshops.

What should I keep in mind while shopping for Murano glass in Venice?

When shopping for Murano glass, ensure you're purchasing from reputable shops to guarantee authenticity. Look for the "Vetro Artistico Murano" trademark, indicating the product is made on the island. Hand-blown glass is a hallmark of Murano craftsmanship, so examine the details and quality of the piece before making a purchase.

Are there any specific shopping events or sales in Venice?

Venice hosts various events and sales throughout the year. The Venice Carnival, held in February, often sees shops offering special deals on masks and costumes. The summer and winter sales seasons, typically in July and January, respectively, are great times to find discounts in boutiques and stores. Keep an eye out for local festivals, as they might coincide with sales or special promotions.

What is the famous shopping street in Venice?

One of the most famous shopping streets in Venice is Calle Larga XXII Marzo. Here, you'll find all the  high-end fashion brands.

Is shopping better in Venice or Milan?

Venice and Milan offer distinct shopping experiences. Milan is internationally renowned as a fashion capital, boasting high-end designer boutiques and luxury fashion houses. It's a paradise for fashion enthusiasts seeking the latest trends and couture pieces. On the other hand, Venice's charm lies in its traditional crafts and unique souvenirs, making it an excellent destination for those looking for authentic local products and artistic creations. Oh, and if you would like more about shopping in Milan here is my Guide to Shopping in Milan and this is our my Shopping in Rome Guide

Does Venice have a shopping mall?

While Venice doesn't have large shopping malls like you might find in other cities, it does have a few shopping centers. For example, "Fondaco dei Tedeschi" near the Rialto Bridge has been transformed into a luxury shopping gallery, housing various upscale brands. However, Venice's shopping scene is primarily characterized by its markets, boutique stores, and artisanal shops scattered throughout the city's charming streets.

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