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Venice Shopping

Fortuny Tessuti Artistici
805 Giudecca
Fondamenta San Biagio
Italy 30133
Tel: 39 041 522 4078

Disembark at any vaporetto stop on the Giudecca (Palanca is nearest to the shop), head west, and keep walking. Right at the end of the Fondamenta San Biagio, in the shadow of the new Hilton Molino Stucky, you'll find this Aladdin's cave of sumptuous fabrics: great bolts of rich cottons and silks in colors fit for a pasha. Fabric was one of the many passions of Mariano Fortuny, the Spanish nobleman and polymath who lived in Venice in the early 20th century. He drew inspiration from an enormous collection of historic materials, mixing epochs and geographic provenance to create his own unique fabric designs. But while the results are here for all to see, his fabric-printing methods remain a closely guarded secret: If you even try to sneak through the pretty neighboring courtyard into the factory itself, you'll be asked politely but firmly to leave. If you want your own piece of Fortuny, you'll have to pay about $200 a yard here at the factory—still significantly less than what you'd fork out elsewhere.

3451 San Marco
Calle delle Botteghe
Italy 30124
Tel: 39 041 522 8574

For anyone with even a passing interest in interior design, a visit to Gaggio is essential. Proprietor Emma Gaggio, a fifth-generation designer from the family dynasty, creates lushly colored silk and cotton fabrics and has them hand-printed with patterns drawn from Venetian tradition. Gaggio fabrics adorn some of the world's most luxurious homes, boats, and jets; here you can purchase lengths of the stuff (from around $190 a yard) or have it made up into cushions, wall hangings, and lamp shades.


To avoid the risk of fire, all glass furnaces in Venice were banished to the lagoon island of Murano in 1291. There they remain to this day, as anyone disembarking from the vaporetto in Murano and being hassled by furnace tour guides will find. But beyond the hard sell and the Taiwan-made glass animals lies a world of serious glassmaking. The maestri at Mazzega will allow you to watch them blowing their fine designs (if you call ahead to arrange it), while Barovier & Toso has a private museum of antique glass attached to its workshop (visits by appointment only). The wares at Marina & Susanna Sent's shop, which include these sisters' exquisite glass jewelry, is a cut above most others on the island. At the foot of the Rialto Bridge, the Attombri brothers incorporate antique glass beads and stunning beads of their own design into gorgeous one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets.

147 Fondamenta da Mula
Tel: 39 041 736 888

28 Fondamenta Vetrai
Tel: 39 041 739 049

669 Dorsoduro
Campo San Vio
Tel: 39 041 520 8136

74 San Polo
Sottoportico degli Orafi
Tel: 39 041 521 2524

Livio de Marchi
3157A San Marco
Salizada San Samuele
Tel: 39 041 528 5694

There's a wonderful sense of irony in Livio De Marchi's hyper-realist sculptures. Anyone happening across his shop⁄gallery near the San Samuele vaporetto stop is enticed by his neatly hanging jackets and hats, his dressing tables crowded with beauty products, his jars of artists' brushes, and his crumpled portmanteau suitcases—all carved out of yellow, knotty cembra pine from the Alps of northern Italy. Recent additions to his work include brilliantly colored pieces in glass—like some astonishingly real-looking helium "balloons"—designed by De Marchi and blown on the island of Murano.

2762 Dorsoduro
Campo San Barnaba
Italy 30123
Tel: 39 041 522 4181

Designer Francesca Meratti's sleek housewares shop exudes minimalist style from every brushed-aluminium shelf. Her salad servers and sinuous carved bottle-stoppers come in a variety of exotic woods; her trays are in gorgeously textured slate; and her ceramic ashtrays are far too elegant to use for stubbing out cigarettes. Pieces by other European designers round out the collection: unusual jewelry with an ethnic slant, gorgeous textiles made into bags and scarves, and unique carved wooden bowls.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm and 3:30 to 7:30 pm.

Hotel Photo

If the crowds of tourists start to make you feel like you're wandering through a theme park rather than a city, make for a market. Here, you'll find real Venetians doing refreshingly everyday things. The biggest, liveliest, and most colorful is the Rialto Market (pictured), which runs Monday to Saturday mornings at the northwestern foot of the Rialto Bridge. Squeeze past the purveyors of nylon soccer shirts in the Ruga degli Orefici and Ruga degli Speziali and strike north: You'll find row upon row of cheese stalls, meat vendors, benches piled with fruit and vegetables, and a Gothic-looking pescaria (covered fish market). All are swarming with sandpaper-voiced old ladies, young mothers using strollers to cut a swath through the crowd, and dapperly dressed professionals laying in supplies for the evening's dinner party. Moored at the far eastern end of Via Garibaldi and on the northern edge of Campo San Barnaba are two more quintessentially Venetian emporia: large barges that on weekday mornings groan under heaps of produce, while shoppers shout their orders from the fondamenta.

Hotel Photo

The rebirth of Venice's carnevale in the 1970s brought a resurgence of the ornately decorated papier-mâché masks worn for the festival centuries earlier. And though many of the mask shops you'll see in the city sell dodgy, Asian–made wares, there are some true mascarei (mask-makers), too. Ca' Macana and Mondonovo have the full range of traditional commedia dell'arte faces, from Harlequin to Pantalone and Pierrot, as well as the eerie blank-faced masks once favored by anonymity-seeking unfaithful husbands and nuns on the lam. At Papier Mâché, on the other hand, masks are inspired by the work of artists from Vittore Carpaccio to Kandinsky.

3172 Dorsoduro
Calle delle Botteghe
Tel: 39 041 277 6142

3063 Dorsoduro
Rio Terà Canal
Tel: 39 041 528 7344

5175 Castello
Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa
Tel: 39 041 522 9995


Calagher (cobbler) Daniela Ghezzo took over the venerable Segalin shop in 2003 after learning the trade from the Segalins themselves—a father and son that had turned out some of Venice's most beautiful shoes since 1932. Some of the Segalins' more outlandish designs can still be bought at the shop, including their trademark gondola-shaped shoes. But you can also have less showy shoes stitched to order. Bespoke prices for men's and women's shoes can go up to €1,700 (about $2,200)—but you'll never have a more exquisitely made pair. Your custom pumps, loafers, or oxfords will take about a month to make, then Ghezzo and her team will ship them directly to you. Giovanna Zanella, another Segalin pupil, sells her designs in a rainbow-hued shop near the Rialto. Her handmade creations range from dazzling to outrageous: It takes a certain panache (and a generous credit limit) to wear what looks like a pair of exploding fireworks on your feet.

4365 San Marco
Calle dei Fuseri
Tel: 39 041 522 2115

5641 Castello
Calle Carminati
Tel: 39 041 523 5500

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.