It may not be a shopping mecca like Florence or Milan, but Venice does specialize in artisan shops that sell things you truly can’t find anywhere else. Especially when compared to Florence and Milan, Venice isn’t exactly a shopping destination. You won’t find a street lined with up-and-coming designer boutiques here, let alone a decent department store.
But if you look hard enough, what you will find tucked into back alleys or hidden in grand arcades is a handful of highly specialized, wonderfully old-school artisan shops that sell things you truly can’t find anywhere else, like velvet gondolier slippers, lace-trimmed cocktail napkins, hand-printed notecards, or stunningly perfect Murano glasses from the 1920s. Here, our definitive list of the best places for shopping in Venice for the discerning souvenir hunter.
Evem Sas – Ricami e Merletti
Evem Sas Ricami e Merletti, a little pistachio-hued box of a linen shop, looks straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. Everything made and sold is a form of starched, frilly, retro perfection. This place is all about hand-stitched, hand-embroidered table linens and baby clothes—including bloomers, lace-trimmed bibs, and the signature puffy-sleeved dresses. There’s a serious grandma vibe, but the level of detail and craftsmanship is truly incredible.
Pied à Terre
Pied à Terre, a pocket-sized boutique hidden behind a market stall near the Rialto bridge is the top place to buy furlane, the chic gondolier slippers that have become a sort of hallmark of low-key Italian style. Shelves are densely packed floor to ceiling, and the shoes come in a rainbow of colors, a handful of different fabrics, and a few subtly different styles. The velvet Salome style is a classic; the Rimbaud, with mismatched fabric linings and white-trimmed soles, is a bit more casual.
Giuliana Longo has been hand-crafting and importing hats in this compact boutique for decades. You’ll find a variety of styles in a range of materials, from simple straw sun hats to velvet-trimmed Carnevale confections. Given the nature of the offerings, you’ll likely be among curious tourists with a penchant for out-there accessories and elderly local gentlemen in the market for a new Panama hat. If you’re looking for something that’s not too expensive, check out the selection of wool berets.
Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta, a charming vintage bookshop named after the flood tides that sometimes submerge parts of the city, keeps its titles protected from high water by piling them in bathtubs and decommissioned gondolas. It’s a tourist attraction, sure, but it’s also a genuinely funky local curiosity. Two sweet cats guard the treasure trove. Vintage art monographs are piled alongside local city guides and contemporary Italian titles. There are also postcards, magnets, and other knick-knacks.
Antonia Miletto Gioielli
Walking down Calle Delle Botteghe, it’s impossible to miss Antonia Miletto Gioielli—the jewelry boutique has orange-silk walls that make it look like a lantern glowing from within. Inside, you’ll find gorgeous, handmade pieces in unconventional material pairings, like ebony and diamonds or coral and amber. Miletto is known for using wood, carving it into smooth, organic shapes, and pairing it with gold or pave diamonds. Don’t leave without trying on a pair of feather-shaped earrings.
Martinuzzi, a homewares shop under one of the Piazza San Marco arcades, is all about traditional elegance in the form of classic, made-in-Venice pieces for the home. Here you’ll find hefty Murano glass goblets, Burano lace-trimmed tablecloths, Egyptian cotton sheets, and sculptural lamps. There are also upscale souvenirs, including gilded Carnevale masks and delicate glass figurines. Don’t leave without picking up a tiny glass animal.
Gianni Basso Stampatore
Gianni Basso Stampatore, an old-school stationery atelier, is one of the city’s most charming institutions. The shop makes everything—including custom correspondence cards, invitations, bookplates, and business cards—by hand on vintage letterpresses. You can browse the selection of readymade cards and prints, but the pro move here is to order a set of personalized stationery. You can choose from a selection of stamps—like shells, palm trees, and lions—or have one custom-designed.
This bright little stationery shop in Campo Santo Stefano specializes in ebru, or paper marbling. But it also sells charming cards, notebooks, wrapping paper, and small accessories stamped with colorful Venetian designs. The marbled paper and “carte a stampo” prints—of notable palazzo architecture, botanical or geometric motifs, or even ducks and dachshund—lend themselves well to pocket-sized notebooks, notepads, and cards. But you’ll also find frameable one-off prints layered with gold leaf, plus holiday ornaments and desk accessories.
L’Angolo Del Passato di Naccari Giordana
In a city filled with stalls selling made-in-China “Murano” tchotchkes and corny galleries selling overpriced “glass art” to starry-eyed tourists, L’Angolo Del Passato is a revelation. The owner, Giordana Naccari, fills a welcoming wonderland of a space with a curated selection of antique glassware and work by contemporary local artists. As you browse, you’ll likely be among chic locals and visitors looking for a knockout hostess gift, wedding present, or too-pretty-to-put-away addition to the bar cart.
Emilia Burano, a gloriously old-school linen and lace shop, is a real institution in Burano, Venice’s heart of lace-making. There are three floors. Downstairs, you’re likely to rub elbows with Venetian grande dames and fancy tourists looking to restock their linen closets. (A set of embroidered napkins or a luxurious set of Egyptian cotton sheets both make for mighty fine souvenirs.) Upstairs, you’ll find a mini museum, with antique pieces from the brand’s archives.
Everything about Antica Drogheria Mascari, a spice shop, makes you feel like you’re in another century. All prices are handwritten, every label is more retro chic than the last, jars of candy line the shelves behind the register, and loose spices are arranged in neat, medina-style piles in the window. You’ll also find beautifully packaged candies and biscuits, dried fruit and nuts, and niche booze, including cases of Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella.