Regular store hours are usually 9–12:30 and 3:30 or 4–7:30 [pm]; some stores are closed Saturday afternoon or Monday morning. Food shops are open 8–1 and 5–7:30, and are closed all day Sunday and Wednesday afternoon. However, many tourist-oriented shops are open all day, every day, especially those in the San Marco area. Some privately owned shops close for both a summer and a winter vacation.
It's always a good idea to mark the location of a shop that interests you on your map; even better, ask for their business card as you pass (they often have maps printed on the back); otherwise, you may not be able to find it again in the maze of tiny streets.
If you make a major purchase, take advantage of tax-free shopping with the value-added tax (V.A.T., or IVA in Italian) refund. On clothing and luxury-goods purchases totaling more than €155 made at a single store, non-EU residents are entitled to get back the up to 20% tax included in the purchase price.
Where to Shop
The rule here is simple: the closer you are to Piazza San Marco, the higher the prices. The serious jewelry and glasswork in the windows of the shops of the Procuratie Vecchie and Nuove make for a pleasant browse; in summer your stroll will be accompanied by the music from the bands that set up in front of Caffè Quadri and Florian. In the shade of the arcades of the Piazza San Marco you'll also find Murano glass vendors like Pauly and Venini, the Galleria Ravagnan, old-fashioned shops selling kitschy souvenirs, and an assortment of lace, linen blouses, silk ties, and scarves.
The area of San Marco west of the piazza (in the Frezzeria and beyond the Fenice) has a concentration of boutiques, jewelry shops, antiques dealers, and the most important art galleries in the city, including Bugno.
The Rialto district, surrounding the famous bridge on both sides of the Grand Canal in San Marco and San Polo, is the mecca for buyers of traditional, inexpensive souvenirs: pantofole del gondoliere, velvety slippers with rubber soles that resemble the traditional gondoliers' shoes; 18th-century-style wooden trays and coasters that look better after a little wear; and glass "candies," which make a nice, inexpensive (if inedible) gift. Clothing and shoe shops are concentrated between the Rialto Bridge and Campo San Polo, along Ruga Vecchia San Giovanni and Ruga Ravano, and around Campo Sant'Aponal. From the Rialto heading toward Campo Santi Apostoli in Cannaregio, you’ll find the elegant Murano glass and jewelry purveyor Rose Douce, along with the department store Coin, is just across the bridge from Campo San Bartolomeo (they don’t close for lunch).
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