Welcome to this highly practical guide that looks into what to buy in Venice and covers some of the best souvenirs to purchase during your time in the Lagoon city.
One popular activity among new tourists in Venice is to look for items to carry home. But, when it comes to shopping in Venice, there are two sides of the same coin.
I see it happening like this: you can either go shopping in the ateliers, artisanal shops and traditional laboratories where local artisans’ expertise is passed down from generation to generation who go on to create the finest handmade products.
Or, you can shop souvenirs created for the masses: reproductions of Venetian masks, miniature gondolas, bridges or other major attractions that just ooze poor quality as soon as you see them. Which side of the coin will you be faced with?
What Souvenirs to buy in Venice?
This guide is here not only to point you in the right direction, but to also inform you that Venice is a city of high quality craftsmanship and it always has been.
By doing some research online and in the streets (as well as sharpening your eye to spot quality products), you can most certainly find yourself some unique souvenirs while here, that way you can carry a piece of ‘authentic Venice’ back home with you.
In Venice, you can spend hours visiting local small shops to scavenge for their wide selection of products that could be the next souvenir you’ll eventually purchase.
From glassware made in Murano, to hand-embroidered Burano lace precious fabrics such as silks and velvets, the possibilities are endless and that’s why I would like to help you find the perfect souvenir for you with this souvenir guide.
What is Venice famous for?
Among the vast array of things you can buy in Venice, what are the most popular Venetian souvenirs? Venice is famous for attractions like St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Rialto Bridge and Bridge of Sighs that are symbols of the city.
You can find small reproductions in series that are Made in China all around the city. Other popular symbols are the gondola, the Venetian mask and Murano glass.
Unfortunately, there are (too) many shops selling mass-produced miniature gondolas and masks or counterfeit Murano glass items. So keep reading this Venice shopping guide to find out what is really worth buying in Venice, and where.
Where to find the best souvenirs in Venice?
The authentic Venetian artisanal souvenirs are the best representation of the artisans’ expertise, skills and passion handed down over the centuries.
Traditional Venetian souvenirs also have a strong connection with Venice’s mercantile past, made of spices, fine fabrics, and perfumes coming from the East.
The city is packed with small family businesses, ateliers and workshops and to visit them is a beautiful experience (as they still exist to this day!) but also to be able to see some of the remaining few artisans at work doing what they do best.
What are the most popular souvenirs from Venice?
When it comes to things to buy in Venice, there really is lots to choose from.
Depending on your budget and type of souvenir (handmade products, foods, drinks, artisanal pieces of work, etc.) you may want to select your gift with care.
The most popular souvenirs in Venice are:
Venice Souvenirs: What to Buy in Venice?
Now you know what’s popular, let’s delve deeper into the world of handmade articrafts, artisanal products and gastronomic souvenirs that you can buy in Venice.
Not only will you learn what to buy, but I’ll also share the details on the best neighbourhoods to look and the best shop to purchase your souvenirs.
Venetian Biscuits and Pastries
Venetian confectionery tradition is characterised by products that can be preserved for a long period and that are very nutritious. Venetian biscuits were originally prepared for the sailors’ who spent days and weeks away from home.
The baicoli are some of the most famous Venetian biscuits. They are cut into very thin slices, which are fragrant, but not overly sugary and that you can eat alone, but also taste like a dream when dipped or soaked in coffee or eggnog.
Then you have the Bussolai from Burano which are crunchy, vanilla-flavoured S-shaped biscuits, and the zaeti, prepared with cornflour which gives them the traditional yellow colour. You can buy them in some of the best pastry shops of Venice and bars too.
While in Venice I recommend buying:
From the historic bakeries and pastry shops you can also buy other sweet souvenirs like Pan del Doge, esse biscuits, pinsa veneziana and fugassa.
The Burano lace is well known worldwide and keeps being produced on the colourful island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon. The secrets behind this art are handed down from older generations of women to the younger ones.
Lace making in Burano dates back to the XVI century and over time its fame reached international levels.
In the past, the Burano lace creations were an exclusive of the most important aristocratic families in Europe, today you can buy from artisan workshops and locally-owned shops in Burano household linen, table centrepieces and clothes.
I personally recommend visiting Burano from Venice to get lace souvenirs and more specifically the Martina Vidal’s atelier to find the finest lace souvenirs and gifts.
You can get there by vaporetto or join this Burano, Torcello & Murano Boat Tour (w/Glassblowing), during which you’ll also visit the nearby islands of Murano, also called the ‘Glass Island’ and the first inhabited island of the lagoon: Torcello.
If you are looking at things to buy in Venice to carry at home with you or to give away as a special gift, Murano glass is one of the best souvenirs you can get.
The authentic Murano glass products are created in the island of Murano where glass blowing furnaces operate. Here skillful glass blowing masters create the most outstanding glass masterpieces of all shapes and sizes.
Depending on your budget you can either get large glass products like chandeliers, medium size vases or glasses and even glass jewellery like earrings and necklaces.
There are different Murano decorative techniques and most of the products you find in the specialised shops sell the Murrine art.
To get a better understanding of how much work goes into the creation of Murano glass products, you can go to a glass-blowing demonstration in Murano to learn about the techniques of this old art.
NasonMoretti, Salviati and Venini are some of the most important names of glass producers in Venice and in their shops you can purchase the most refined artistic Murano glassworks.
Would you like to challenge yourself and create your own Murano glass souvenir? Then you can do it with one of the most famous craftsmen of Venice: Massimiliano Caldarone during his glass artwork private lesson.
The Caffè Girani is the oldest coffee roaster in Venice and a family business that has existed since 1928. The founder was Giuseppe Girani, who handed down the coffee roasting art for 3 generations.
Back in the 50s, the Girani family used to deliver the best coffee blends to some of the most luxury 5 star hotels in Venice and they still provide their best blends to guest houses and hotels in and around the city.
The Giranis are wholesalers but also creators of blends. They are famous for roasting at a low temperature, a technique that preserves more the aromas and mitigates the bitterness of the coffee.
When you visit their coffee house and shop, you can buy a bag of coffee and choose among their careful selection of blends.
The Girani’s family will be more than happy to guide you through for example by letting you smell their coffees and telling you their history, so you can choose the blend that you like the most based on your taste.
Postcards are one of evergreen souvenirs to buy in Venice, and in general when you’re in any other city of the world.
There are many shops in Venice selling postcards which cost a couple of euros only and displaying classic views of the most iconic bridges and landmarks: St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and Bridge of Sighs.
On the other side, you can do more research and find out that there are small art workshops, and quirky bookshops selling unusual postcards. You can visit places like the eclectic Acqua Alta bookshop or the oldest bookshop of the city: Libreria Toletta and check what they’ve got for a more localised version.
From vintage to watercolour postcards, you can start spending a bit more but get something unique or handmade to send to a friend or family directly from Venice.
In Salizada San Canzian 5576/A you can visit Studio Saor. The guys don’t just sell postcards, but large prints, posters, paper models, notebooks and tote bags, too. I suggest you visit their Instagram page (@studiosaor) to see their product range.
Are you looking for a spirit souvenir that will remind you of Venice while sipping it from a glass back home? Then you’ll want look into getting a bottle of Grappa.
Grappa is a drink obtained from the distillation of pomace, which are the residues of winemaking. The first grappa distillery was born in Bassano del Grappa (I visited the museum there recently) back in 1779 that belonged to the Nardini family.
The production process follows different steps: the fermentation of the pomace, to distillation, up to ageing in steel or wooden barrels. Grappa is a high quality distillate that can be consumed both neat and in combination with other drinks.
In Venice, you can find many deli shops selling some unique products from Veneto such as grappa, as well as wines and liqueurs along with traditional foods.
There’s a Poli grappa shop in S. Marco 2511/B (Campiello Feltrina), and my best advice is to also check some of the local supermarkets in Venice to see if you can find the Nardini grappa or one of the other grappas that sell for a cheaper price.
The history of Italian leather has its beating heart in Venice and Veneto. Leather processing in this region and in other places in Northern Italy has distant origins.
Leather goods used to be created already from the Middle Ages but only around the end of the 19th century, with the right machinery and manufacturing processes, the quantity of leather items that can be produced increased.
Fast forward to today and the Venetian leather bags, clothing items and accessories on sale are some of the best souvenirs in Venice to purchase. The Made in Italy leather is synonymous with high quality and that usually translates to, a leather good bought in Venice can (and will) last you for years, if not decades.
In Venice there are locally-owned leather goods shops and ateliers worth visiting for example, I highly recommend you visit the Scriba workshop (near Rialto Bridge) where you can buy notebooks and other high quality pieces made from leather.
Then you have the beautiful handmade bags created by Ruggero de Zorzi, an expert leather artisan. His shop is called Francis Model (opened by his father in 1965) is based in the San Polo district. You can also find more leather goods at the popular shop Il Graffio that sells handmade purses, bags, wallets and belts.
The creamy cod (baccalà mantecato) is an original Venetian recipe. It won’t be long before you’re presented with the option to try it, whether it’s at the restaurant or at the bacaro.
But what is the baccalà mantecato? It’s actually a creamy and delicate stockfish spread loved by many Venetians. It can be eaten with sheer pleasure when combined with a slice of bread or polenta or turned into cicchetto, or you can have it as an appetiser, and in larger portions as a main course for lunch or dinner.
This creamy cod has a very long history that starts in the year 1432, off the coast of the Lofoten Islands, where Piero Querini, a Venetian merchant, and his vessel along with its crew sank. After his arrival to one of the islands, he noticed that the local population used to eat fish after drying it and beating it in the sun.
Querini couldn’t help but take the method home. A few centuries later, the creaming step gets added to give finally birth to the baccalà mantecato that we still eat today.
If you’ve tried the baccalà mantecato already and love it, it is good to know that you can carry it at home with you. Why not buy it as a gastronomic souvenir from the family-owned shop Baccalà Veneto, near Rialto? You can either purchase the original baccalà mantecato or the baccalà alla vicentina in tin cans.
Venice is a city of artists and has a long list of talented painters that changed the history of art forever. Bellini, Tintoretto, Giorgione, Canaletto and Titian are just a few of the most famous painters born in Venice or in the Veneto region.
Today you can only visit art museums in Venice like the Gallerie dell’Accademia or churches to admire their masterpieces.
If you love art and looking at what to buy in Venice then you’ll be pleased to know there are still many passionate and skillful artists working in their ateliers or art galleries, mainly in the Dorsoduro district.
While you’re walking around, it’s not unusual to find artists painting en-plein-air depicting the beauty of Venice on canvas. Why not stop and ask where they sell their paintings? You can also spot street artists and buy paintings off them!
Long ago, I fell in love with the watercolour and oil paintings by Nicola Tenderini, see his Instagram (@nicolatenderiniart) and visit the Fontegoart Gallery where his work is sold. Additionally, if you’re an amateur artist or just want to learn more about watercolour painting, why not join his watercolour class in Venice while you’re here?
Venice is the homeland of one of the most loved aperitifs: the Spritz! The Venetian Spritz is prepared by adding on a glass of Prosecco wine, sparkling water or seltzer and a bitter aperitif of your choice: Aperol, Campari, Cynar or Select.
The Select aperitif was born in Venice in 1920 and created by the Pilla brothers. If you’re in Venice you have to try the Spritz Select because that is the original Spritz! You can head over to my guide on Venetian Spritz to find out where to try it.
The bitter Venetian aperitif is prepared from a blend of 30 botanical herbs including macerated rhubarb roots and juniper berries. You can visit the recently opened Ca’ Select, an exhibition space dedicated to the world-famous aperitif.
If you can’t wait to take it home with you, you can buy a bottle of Select from supermarkets like Coop or from one of the many wine shops around the city.
Despite all the products on offer that you will find, the one that is said to be the most loved souvenir from Venice that you can get your hands on is the Venetian mask.
Beware as there are many shops selling replicas and mass-produced masks (low quality) versions all around Venice. Instead explore the Venetian mask artisans’ workshops and ateliers to learn about the true Venetian art linked to Carnival.
The origin of the Venetian mask dates back to 1268 when the masks were not only worn during Carnival but also to hide one’s identity. This practice got prohibited by the Serenissima government that decided to let people wear the masks only during the Carnival period. But how are the Venetian masks made?
Today the original Venetian masks are still made like in the past, by using different materials like papier-mâché, ceramic or plaster, rags, fabrics or leather.
There are thousands of types of masks of different shapes, colours and sizes. You can visit some laboratories and find small simple ones that can be used as ornaments to elaborate artworks that require hours and hours of work.
One of the best mask shops in Venice is Ca’ Macana. There you can buy one from a vast range of masks and even create your own mask at one of their workshops.
In Venice it’s not only about lace. You can also find a couple of renowned ateliers that use silks and fine fabrics to make unique dresses and Carnival costumes.
The production of fabrics dates back to glorious Serenissima days of Venice when precious silks and other fabrics from the East used to arrive in the Lagoon city.
In the Santa Croce district, you can find the historic atelier of Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua. Its known that the Bevilacqua family has a long history of processing fine fabric which are predominantly used for furnishings and luxury fashion.
Some of the fabrics they work with are velvet, damask, lampasse, brocade and ancient and precious soprarizzo velvet. Its complex processing is still made by hand by using 18 looms from the 18th century that come from the Silk School of the Republic of Venice.
Another important shop and showroom selling amazing fabrics is the Foundation Rubelli in the San Marco district and in the off-the-beaten-path Giudecca island, you can find the Fortuny factory showroom where you can look and buy amazing textiles that are also used to create cushions, journals and umbrellas.
Souvenir Shopping in Venice
Now that you know what to buy in Venice and where, what you will get?
Unfortunately, many items you’ll see while shopping in Venice are counterfeit, mass-produced and of very poor quality (It saddens me to have say this).
However, several shops generally located in the most touristic locations sell unauthentic products and I think you should 100% be aware of that.
I hope that this list of some of the best Venetian souvenirs will help you out during your trip research and help you to have a positive shopping experience while here.
If you’re travelling soon, try reading my Venice insider tips for more suggestions.
📌 Like this article? Click to Pin it…
If you found this Venice travel guide helpful, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here.
“Dear traveller! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a tour booking or reserve a hotel, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot to me and helps me to keep creating and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”