It’s no secret that Venice offers some excellent shopping opportunities, but the best of them are often not the most conspicuous. Look beyond the ubiquitous street vendors and the hundreds of virtually indistinguishable purse, glass, and lace shops that line the calli, and you’ll discover a bounty of unique and delightful treasures—some might be kitschy, but much will show off the high level of craftsmanship for which Venice has long been known.
Alluring shops abound. You'll find countless vendors of trademark Venetian wares such as Murano glass and Burano lace; the authenticity of some goods can be suspect, but they're often pleasing to the eye regardless of their heritage. For more sophisticated tastes (and deeper pockets), there are jewelers, antiques dealers, and high-fashion boutiques on a par with those in Italy's larger cities but often maintaining a uniquely Venetian flair. Don’t ignore the contemporary, either: Venice's artisan heritage lives on in the hand and eye of the today’s designers—no matter where they hail from.
While the labyrinthine city center can seem filled with imposing high-fashion emporiums and fancy glass shops, individual craftspeople often working off the main thoroughfares produce much of what is worth taking home from Venice. In their workshops artful stationery is printed with antique plates; individual pairs of shoes are adroitly constructed; jewelry is handcrafted; fine fabrics are skillfully woven; bronze is poured to make gondola décor, and iron is worked into fanali lanterns; paper is glued, pressed, and shaped into masks; and oars and forcola oarlocks are hewn and sculpted in the workshops of remér wood craftsmen.