The irony of owning scantly more than what fits in a backpack (stuffed to its limit, granted) while authoring a shopping guide isn’t lost on me. It’s true that I rarely shop and the mere thought of “stuff accumulation” gives me the shakes. The reason I was drawn to this assignment – to create a Venice Shopping Guide – for TripAdvisor goes back to my favorite travel themes: embracing personal responsibility and fostering sustainability.
In working on the project, I kept these central questions in mind:
How can we as travelers and tourists better support places we visit? Surely, what we buy and where we buy factors into the answer, yes? How can shopping become a meaningful travel experience?
Three years ago, when my husband and I sold our home and 95% of our belongings, the feeling of letting everything go was liberating. What I realized as we went through all those belongings is the items that mattered (and made it into the “keeps” stash), were overwhelming hand-made artisanal goods from our travels. Paintings, photography, crafts, jewelry, and one-of-a kind works that immediately took us back to that place and time.
The search and hunt for meaningful pieces is part of the magic of shopping in Venice. For every cheap souvenir hawker, there’s half a dozen artisanal shoppes featuring handcrafted goods. As a visitor, you just have to know where to look.
Shopping in Venice can be an immersion in culture and lesson in history. From glassblowers to mask-makers, painters and photographers, Venetian artists are the living embodiment of the island’s history and work every day to carry those traditions forward.
When you visit Venice, skip the cheap trinkets made elsewhere, and opt for locally-made goods. Here’s where to shop and what to buy.
VENICE SHOPPING GUIDE
by Jess Simpson
Experience the artistry and craftsmanship of Venice through our Venice Shopping Guide, created by travel writer Jess Simpson.
For centuries, Venice was the epicenter of a mighty trading empire specializing in cultivating the world’s finest goods. It’s no surprise that the legacy lives on and flourishes today in a contemporary shopping culture obsessed with craftsmanship and detail. From boutiques presenting Italy’s most luxurious brands to family-owned shops passing artistry through generations, Venice offers one of the world’s most rewarding shopping experiences. Whether seeking contemporary fashions, original works of art, or unique trip mementos, treasure awaits in every neighborhood (sestiere).
Begin the immersion with a sestiere-by-sestiere guide.
From Murano glass to hand-crafted masks, here’s what to buy in Venice along with key shopping tips.
And, here are 19 of my favorite shops in Venice for locally-made goods and treats.
For another good resource, check out Venezia Autentica for a spotlight of more shops and boutiques featuring locally made products.
Have a favorite place to shop in Venice? Share it with us in the comments and we will be sure to check out!