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Venice Travel Guide

The 10 Best Boutique Shops in Venice

Forget kitschy souvenirs; these boutique stores celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship of Venetian artisans.

Glass, paper, gold: Venice is home to a wealth of time-honored arts and crafts. But today, its embattled artisans struggle against an influx of cheap souvenir shops and a dearth of people interested in apprenticeships. To support the city’s historic industries and those who strive to preserve them, purchase your gifts and souvenirs from these ten shops. 

1 OF 10

Alessia Fuga

WHERE: Murano

Murano glass chandeliers are a little bulky for a suitcase and, more importantly, out of budget for most travelers to Venice. For an atypical souvenir, seek out Alessia Fuga’s tiny workshop along Rio Terà S. Salvador. Fuga is a lampworker, meaning she uses a blowtorch instead of a fiery furnace to melt and manipulate glass. The historic craft has opened a door for women into the typically masculine world of glassmaking. Fuga makes highly detailed hefty beads that become the centerpieces for statement necklaces and earrings.

2 OF 10


WHERE: San Polo

At Stefania Giannini’s workshop, Paper Owl, paper is used for everything but writing. She folds richly decorated sheets into miniature origami forms, which become appendages on earrings or floral blooms. Giannini herself has become a kind of incidental performance artist as she rhythmically cuts, folds, and glues in a mesmerizing, meditative cycle while prospective buyers watch.

3 OF 10

Drogheria Mascari

WHERE: San Polo

In the heydeys of the Venetian Republic, the city would have exuded the exotic scents of spices brought from trade routes with the East. Drogheria Mascari, along the aptly named “spice-sellers street,” is one of the few reminders of the lucrative commerce. In the window are medina-style mounds of cinnamon, turmeric, star anise, and paprika. Time unspools as you enter the wood-paneled interior with myriad bottles and packets of sweets, biscuits, and liqueurs bearing handwritten labels.

4 OF 10

Signor Blum

WHERE: Dorsoduro

If you need a gift for little ones, head to Signor Blum. Founded in the 1970s by three women friends, the store sells rainbow-colored wooden toys and artisanal decorations for children and adults. The products are inspired by Venice, like mobiles dangling with gondolas and wooden block puzzles of winged lions (and more fiddly ones of iconic monuments).

5 OF 10

The Merchant of Venice

WHERE: Various

If you wish you could bottle up the scent of a dreamy holiday and take it home, you can do exactly that in Venice. Don’t worry; it’s not the smell of canal water. At The Merchant of Venice, recherché perfumes with names like ”Mystic Incense” and ”Imperial Emerald” come in sleek bottles made of Murano glass and decorated with opulent gilded designs.

6 OF 10

Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua

WHERE: Santa Croce

In the 16th century, there were some 1,200 weavers in Venice. Now, there is only one factory left producing velvet. At Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua, 19th-century handworked machines still click and clack. It can take up to six months just to prepare the jacquard loom for some of the more complex velvet designs, and the workshop produces a mere 30 centimeters a day of this exquisite fabric.

7 OF 10

The Studio in Venice

WHERE: Cannaregio

Venice’s Ghetto—the oldest in the world—is a peaceful neighborhood with a central square covered in chalk scrawlings and several independent cafès and shops. Art flourishes in the area, and The Studio in Venice is one of a handful of contemporary galleries. You’ll find eye-popping, whimsical paintings of the Ghetto and its multitude of cats, scenes of Jewish celebrations on the canals, and Torah scrolls. 

8 OF 10

Libreria Acqua Alta

WHERE: San Marco

The name of this store translates as the high-tide bookshop, referring to the lagoon water that regularly floods the city during the winter months (less frequently now flood barriers have been installed). Low-lying Libreria Acqua Alta sits directly on a canal that occasionally infiltrates the cramped rooms stuffed with tottering piles of literature. A gondola and a couple of bathtubs overflow with books at ground level while thousands more tomes are rammed and stacked into haphazard shelving around the walls. Make sure you buy something rather than just treating it as a tourist attraction, and don’t leave without petting the cats. 

9 OF 10

Mario Berta Battiloro

WHERE: Cannaregio

The last goldbeater in Venice and possibly in Europe, Mario Berta Battiloro is the lone master of an ancient Venetian art. His precious craft involves beating sheets of gold into wafer-thin strips, then used to decorate masks, gild mosaic tiles, and even top food and drink. The workshop is inside a wing of the house once lived in by celebrated artist Titian, but it’s likely to close at the end of next year as the goldsmith can’t find any new apprentices.  

10 OF 10

Paolo Brandolisio

WHERE: San Marco

If you’ve ever observed gondoliers closely, you may have noticed their oar rests inside a strangely crooked wooden support. These oarlocks, known as forcole, are handmade in a few remaining workshops, like Paolo Brandolisio Bottega in Venice, and each is made to measure for a gondolier. Such is the physical and symbolic importance of the oarlock, as well as its curiously abstract form, that one is now exhibited in the MOMA in New York. Miniature versions have become popular souvenirs and are a reliable conversation starter when someone spots one on your shelves.