• Nicoletta Fornaro

Venice Quality Shopping Guide 2019


This post is dedicated to my favourite shops in Venice. I have carefully selected the craftsmen and/or resellers that I consider the most virtuous and guarantee high quality products, all rigorously made in Italy and often handcrafted. The lists follows my personal tastes and likings, therefore I do not want to present it as an omni-comprehensive guide of all the good there is in Venice, but rather as a personal selection of some of the best contemporary housewares, jewellery, clothing and book stores we have.

CASTELLO:

Castello 998 (map) | Castello - Fondamenta Sant'Anna 998

Small shop located in Castello co-managed by glass artist Alessandra Gardin and potter Daniela Levera. Here you will find elegant and contemporary jewellery with glass beads and mixed media and refined ceramic jars, vases, cups and bowls, all characterised by a warm and cosy feel.

Ai Bochaleri (website) | Castello - Viale Garibaldi 1257

Open to the public only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am. to 5 pm, this is the local association of Venetian potters. During the week it is possible to attend introductory and/or advanced workshops, whereas at the weekend the potters showcase their beautiful productions in the garden. I highly recommend stopping by, as the place itself is magical and the items absolutely stunning.

Sunset Yogurt (website) | Castello - F.ta San Gioacchin 494/A

Not an ordinary shop, this contemporary glass jewellery gallery is run by Cosima Montavoci, Venetian artist recently returned to the lagoon. The atelier is open by appointment only (don't hesitate to contact her) and for the launch of new collections and art performance or events. Please browse through her website, as her production is varied and quite diversified, ranging from beautifully designed body parts (on show at the Milano Fashion Week) to elegant and timeless pieces in mixed medias.

Atelier Alessandro Merlin (website) | Castello - Calle del Pestrin 3876

Talented potter Alessandro Merlin creates unique pieces with a quite recognisable style. Cups, ovals and dishes of all sizes, hand-decorated with stylised figures of crabs, octopus, fish and human body parts. Witty, imaginative and elegant.

Chimera (website) | Castello - Salizada dei Greci 3459

Potter Ilaria Rigoni gives shape to bright and colourful objects for the house, all characterised by a shiny, vibrant and joyful feel. In addition to her stunning ceramics, you will also find bookmarks and small prints with stylised drawings of Venetian monuments and places and lovely bags for women.

Banco Lotto n° 10 (Facebook) | Castello - Salizada Sant'Antonin 3478

One of my favourite stores in Venice, offering dresses and accessories which are handmade by the female prisoners of the jail in Giudecca. The dresses have tight corsets and balloon skirts, then I also love the silk tops and the bags in different fabrics, shapes and size, ideal both for special occasions and for an everyday use.

Arzanart (website) | Barbaria de le Tole 6479A

A lovely marbled paper studio, which opened about a year ago and where you will probably see either Federico or Isabella at work. Here you can find handcrafted marbled paper sheets, panels, diaries, agendas, objects for the house and office and really cute jewellery.

SAN MARCO

Materialmente (website) | Merceria San Salvador 4850

Tiny yet amazing atelier of unique and imaginative objects for the house in handcrafted steel. The artists behind these creations are called Maddalena Venier and Alessandro Salvadori, who share a workshop on the island of Giudecca and give shape to almost indescribable universes populated by whales, birds, cats, leaves, petals, boats, ships and more. In addition to the refined and feather-weight sculptures, I strongly suggest to look at the jewellery, light and contemporary, and the lamps. Highly recommended!

Pelletteria Pagan (map) | Piazza San Marco 54 & Calle della Mandola 3648

This is the place to go if you are looking for high quality Made-in-Italy leather goods. Bags, belts and accessories in different skins, all realised by small Italian manufactures. I would also advise to stop by for quality (yet affordable) gifts for friends and suggest asking for the small purses and cases for glasses with the disegno veneziano, an ancient Venetian stylised decoration, the drawing of which is deposited in the nearby Marciana library.

White (Instagram) | San Marco - Calle dei Fuseri 4459

Sophisticated and sought-after clothing shop offering Made-in-Italy and a few Made-in-Switzerland clothes in quality leather, wool, silk and pure cotton. The style is at the same time urban, elegant and modern, for women who want to be stylish without giving up comfort.

Ottico Fabbricatore (Instagram) | San Marco 4773

A quality shop that has been offering for years fancy sunglasses, bags, clothes and other original accessories that result elegant and timeless and that are incredibly comfortable to wear. The shop on the street seems quite small and cosy, but once you step inside you will be taken to another room on the first floor, with white wooden beams, a white parquet floor and beautiful lamps. Love it!!!

Nina Boutique (website) | San Marco - Campo Manin 4231 + Dorsoduro 3130

The shop alone is a good enough reason for a visit. With its country chic furniture, its warm and classy atmosphere, the plants hanging from the ceiling, the wicker baskets filled with clothes and the private patio overlooking the canal, this shop is really unique. Quality fabrics for elegant clothes and accessories.

La Pietra Filosofale (map) | San Marco 1735 Carlo Setti is the best -yet the least spoken about- mask maker in Venice. He started many years ago producing masks for the Japanese theatre and also for the Fenice Opera House and other theatres. He has always been passionate and has carried out a detailed research on the topic and his creations in leather and papier-mache are unique and go beyond the more common and over used Venetian figures... Don't be intimidated by his appearance, he is actually a real gentleman and a very knowledgeable person who works with passion and still gets excited when the interlocutor proves sincerely curious about this universe. The best!!!! Trust me.

Venetian Dreams (website) | On appointment - Burano

It doesn't happen everyday to meet an impiraressa (bead-stringer), therefore Venetian Dreams is the right choice if what you are looking for are outstanding and elegant pieces of jewellery that combine the traditional art of bead threading with a timeless style. If you allow me make a suggestion, ask for the corals! Marisa Convento used to have a shop in central Venice until a short while ago, but for many reasons she chose to close it and seek new adventures. You can purchase from her online or (recommended), when in Venice, contact her to meet up and don't forget to ask about her private workshops!!!

Ceramiche Artistiche - Rigattieri Liliana (map) | San Marco 3535

One of the oldest artistic ceramics shops in Venice, with pottery arriving straight from Bassano del Grappa. I used to go there as a child with my mother and I still go there occasionally! The most notable collections are the ones with decorations of fruits, greens, fish and mollusks, while my favourite is the simple white '700 Veneziano. Beautiful.

Studium (website) | San Marco 337

My absolute favourite bookshop, where it's possible to find books in several languages that range from contemporary novels and essay to photographic coffee table books and with a very interesting and well curated section on Venice. Great choice of books also for children of all ages.

Libreria Bertoni (website) | Calle della Mandola 3637

My second most used bookshop! Here you will find lots and lots of piles of second hand books, untidily organised in sections. In this spot I found old editions I couldn't find anywhere else and believe its art and cinema sections are super rich. Well worth rummaging through the old Venice books too.

Libreria Antiquaria Linea d'Acqua (website) | Calle della Mandola 3717/D

Sumptuous independent bookshop specialised in antiquarian and rare publications and engravings. The bookshop also publishes the online magazines InTime and Venice Review.

DORSODURO

Madera (website) | Campo San Barnaba 2762

Opened in 2001 by Francesca Meratti, this fantastic shop gathers high quality housewares and designer jewellery. Absolutely worth a stop.

Danghyra (website) | Dorsoduro 3220

Irresistible shop showcasing the work of Venetian design brand Danghyra. Elegant cups, bowls, carafes, tea and coffee sets, vases and objects for the house in the finest materials, such as ceramic, platinum, copper and 24k gold. Bright and vivid colours, a large use of gold and silver finishes and a contemporary feel.

Kanz (website) | Dorsoduro, Calle Avogaria 1621/a

Elegant showroom of some of the works created by the architects members of the Kanz studio, founded in Venice in 2014 by Antonella Maione and Mauro Cazzaro. Here you will find minimalist and refined objects for the house that range from teapots, cups and glasses to fancy chairs and mirrors.

La Casa di Loto (website) | Dorsoduro, Calle Larga Ca' Foscari 3856

Beautiful artisan shop specialised in knitwear. Unique clothes that combine quality to accessible costs. Excellent fabrics and a style that will take you back to the 30s.

Shanti Daan (website) | Dorsoduro 3284

Absolutely wonderful ethnic shop where in addition to dresses, jackets, skirts, shirts and tops you can also find all sorts of objects for the house, like stools, small tables and chairs in natural materials, jewellery and even books! Love the atmosphere and also love the big fat cat that sleeps on the front window all day (please, don't knock!).

Acqua Marea (Facebook) | Dorsoduro 3750

This is definitely the to-go shop if you are looking for quality rain boots (here used for acqua alta) in natural materials. This cosy shop has recently widened its offer and now you can also find sneakers, sandals and other unique footwear.

TRENTOTTOCINQUANTASEI (website) | Dorsoduro 3749

Lovely boutique where you will find refined clothes for an everyday use. A country-urban style, ideal for women who lead an active life but still want to look good, in an elegant and under stated way. Right now I'm in love with the linen summer dresses and bags.

Libreria Marco Polo (website) | Dorsoduro - Santa Margherita 2899

Independent bookshop focused on alternative editions and smaller publisher, with a well selected choice of illustrated books and very well known in the city for the several events, workshops and presentations open to the public. You may also find small and curious objects which would make lovely presents, like the futuristic magnets.

Living in the Past (website) | Dorsoduro 3474

Tiny and out of the beaten track bookshop with second hand books, vinyl records and a lots of comics. The place is ideal for those who enjoy rummaging and for anyone into Andrea Pazienza and all the cartoonists from Bologna published on Frigidare (so so so cool!!!!! My favourite characters... Ranxerox and Lubna).

SANTA CROCE

Slash Treviso (website) | Calle Longa 2156

It's very unfortunate that I am not very wealthy, because I would spend all my money for a new wardrobe in this amazing shop. The clothes and accessories are contemporary, minimalist and made with excellent fabrics. The only apparently casual and understated style I love.

Bottega 2137 (website) | Calle Longa 2137

Located just in front of the above mentioned Slash, this isn't only a flower shop, but rather an artistic place where floral designs are matched with sought-after objects and rare findings. Manuela and Paola work very hard and are clearly sensitive to beauty, so you will find contemporary vases, objects of decor and other artistic items.

SAN POLO

Oh My Blue Gallery (website) | Campo San Toma' 2865

Gallery managed by Elena Rizzi, who carefully selects unique jewellery and accessories created by international designers. The white walls and wooden beams add brightness to a space where art and fashion meet.

Altrove (website) | San Polo, Calle Moro 2659/A

A little bit hidden, in this tiny boutique you will be mesmerised by the unique clothes in high quality fabrics, all characterised by an ultra-contemporary and slightly arty feel.

Fratelli Attombri (website) | Sottoportico degli Oresi

Stefano and Daniele are two brothers who inherited a huge amount of beads from their grandfather, who used to work in Murano, and have become known worldwide for the way they re-interpret the traditional bead-threading technique. Elegant and timeless pieces of handcrafted jewellery, made of glass beads and other mixed media. Beautiful.

Damocle Edizioni (website) | Calle del Perdon 1311

Independent publishing house specialised in artistic and illustrated books and paperbacks, both in English and Italian. A hidden gem where you will find the most unique and unexpected reads.

CANNAREGIO

Codex (website) | Fondamenta degli Ormesini 2799

Bright shop with lots of artworks made by Brazilian Japanese Nelson Kishi, known in Venice because he goes around the city to sketch his aerial drawings from unexpected spots, and Robin Food, whose paintings I absolutely adore. Her paintings are realised with the Ukiyo technique and have warm and bright colours; I'm particularly fond of her stylised trees and leaves.

Il Forcolaio Matto (website) | Calle dell'Oca 4231

Interesting lab specialised in the production of oars for gondolas and other boats, here it's possible to buy wooden jewellery and small decorative oar sculptures.

Plum Plum Creations (website) | Fondamenta degli Ormesini 2681

One of the best places if you are looking for artistic prints, etchings, watercolours and linocuts. Arianna has also started offering workshops and I suggest to follow her blog too, as she shares curious insights on her art and on living in Venice.

Gianni Basso Stampatore (external link) | Calle del Fumo 5306

Magical letterpress studio managed by Gianni Basso, also known as the Venetian Gutenberg and featured on the programme 'Exhibition on Screen: Canaletto' on the occasion of the 'Canaletto and the Art of Venice' held in 2017 at Buckingham Palace. Absolutely worth a stop! If curious, have a look at the trailer on YouTube.

Mori e Bozzi (Facebook) | Strada Nuova 2367 Very stylish shoe shop where it is also possible to find unique clothing pieces, such as dresses, coats and shirts and amazing bags.

sullaluna (Facebook) | Cannaregio - Fondamenta della Misericordia

Bookshop and vegetarian teahouse specialised in illustrated books for children and adults, cookbooks and illustrated biographies. I suggest to keep an eye on their Facebook page too, because they often organise workshops for children, tasting events for adults and meetings with the authors.

I hope I gave you a little inspiration and now there's really nothing left for me to do than wish you happy shopping and in case you are looking for advice on where to eat, check out My Venice Food Guide.

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