10 things to buy

Souvenirs recommended by the Venetians

Venice has always had a great history of craftsmanship. As in all large cities, here too you can buy a myriad of souvenirs, not always of great value however. Many shops will try selling you T-shirts, plastic gondolas, masks and fake glass produced elsewhere, basically mass-produced products . Obviously no one is stopping you from buying these items, however if you want to take home a piece of the real Venice, we recommend ten things that are really original.

  • The first item is the traditional murrina, which you can find in many stores: we suggest the Ercole Moretti glass factory in Murano (in Fondamenta Navagero 42), known for its specialized products. Here you will find classic pendants, plates, vases and anything else your imagination comes up with. For information, info@ercolemoretti.it.
  • Yet again, in Murano, a gift that is always welcome: a necklace of pearls. We recommend three stores where colors and shapes become art: Costantini Glassbeads di Moretti Alessandro, at Calle del Cimitero 11 (041.739274, costantiniglassbeads@virgilio.it); Davide Penso Artstudio in Riva Longa 48 (041.5274634, info@davidepenso.com); Marina and Susanna Sent in Fondamenta Serenella 20 (041.5274665, info@marinaesusannasent.com).
  • Other gifts that are always welcome are Burano sweets, in particular the famous bussolà buranelli. Shortbread biscuits made with eggs, flour and butter, which are either shaped like a donut or an “S”. They are often served after a meal along with a glass of sweet wine. You’ll easily find them everywhere, but we suggest you buy the ones made by artisans rather than the ones made in bulk by companies.
  • A fond memory of Venice is definitely a carnival mask. But be careful not to buy the plastic ones! There are many shops that make hand-made masks, using ancient techniques, so if you have any doubts ask! In any case, Ca ‘Macana is one of the oldest and best-known shops (Dorsoduro 3172, 041.2776142, info@camacana.com), which still creates and paints masks as they did 800 years ago.
  • For a truly unique experience you need to go to the libreria Acqua alta, (Castello 5176 / B, Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa). This bookstore is one of the most original in the world. You won’t see any books nicely arranged on shelves, you’ll find them stacked on bathtubs and gondolas. The bookshop is full of literature on Venice including “unobtainable” books.
  • If you’re looking for a beautiful print of Venice then the place to go is the Serigrafia Fallani (Cannaregio 4875, at the foot of the bridge of the Gesuiti, 041.5235772, info@fallanivenezia.com): here you can choose amongst a wide range of subjects (for example on fine sandpaper and the Ca’ ‘D’Oro series!), or you can participate in mini-courses on serigraphy and make you own your hand-made souvenir to take home from Venice (T-shirts, shopping bags or cards).
  • An interesting item is the Venetian gondola kit that Gilberto Penzo sells (Calle seconda dei Saoneri 2681, 041.719372 / 041.5246139, veniceboats@gmail.com): the kit consists of 42 pre-cut pieces by laser and comes with horses and an iron prow. A gift that will keep the whole family busy. And next to the gondola you can also find taxis and the beautiful Rialto Bridge.
  • The bags and accessories made from recycled PVC are great souveniers. They are hand- made in the Santa Maria Maggiore male prison in Venice and are called Malefatte. They are created using PVC posters used to advertise city events: once the posters become unusable the prisoners turn them into unique and original bags and accessories. You can find them in the kiosk in Campo Santo Stefano (open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) or in the fair trade and solidarity shops scattered throughout the historical center.
  • In Campo San Barnaba you’ll come across the Signor Blum shop that sells rigorously hand-made wooden creations. Many objects and decorations are inspired by Venice: a truly original gift!
  • Finally, if you want to wear a garment that was in vogue in Venice during the Serenissima period, all you need to do is buy the papusse venexiane: the famous velvet slippers. You’ll find them in a small shop in Calle Fiubera (on one side of the Calle dei Fabbri) or in the Piedàterre shop under the arches of the Ri Bridge.