Venice is uniquely famous for local crafts that have been produced here for centuries which you usually won’t find anywhere else. That includes Murano glassware, the lovely, delicate lace from Burano, and the cartapesta (papier-mâché) Carnival masks. You’ll sometimes find artisans creating their beautiful lace creations in local shops. And, on the island of Murano, there are numerous glass companies holding demonstrations on how they create their fascinating pieces of artwork. Visit at least two different factories because they have different specialties and designs.
If you would like to buy an authentic Venetian mask, there are a couple of places to check out. One is the Carta Alta on the island of Giudecca. Another is the Casin dei Nobili showroom which is also on a private island, the Dorsoduro. (NOTE: Please verify names and locations with your hotel concierge before heading out.)
Just for fun, visit the Rolando Segalin shoe store at Calle dei Fuseri. They have a unique selection of shoes, very whimsical and colorful;most are created to wear with Carnival costumes.
Then, you’ll find a selection of stores featuring less expensive souvenirs-to-middle-market-to-upscale items lining the narrow, zigzagging Mercerie running north between Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Market has T-shirts, and touristy type trinkets. Venetians, centuries-old merchants, aren't known for bargaining but you will have a higher chance of getting a bargain if you pay in cash or buy several items. More upscale clothing and gift boutiques are on the Calle Larga XXII Marzo, just west of Piazza San Marco and continues on to the expansive Campo Santo Stefano near the Accademia. And, the narrow Frezzeria,also west of the piazza, offers cafes and a selection of boutiques.
Like antiques? The Mercatino dell'Antiquariato (Antiques Fair) takes place three times annually in the Campo San Maurizio between Piazza San Marco and Campo Santo Stefano. These markets are usually held in early April, mid-September, and the weekend before Christmas. You’ll find vendors selling everything from Murano glass to more mundane items. If you’re in town and enjoy antiques, be sure to browse this fascinating market. Again, your concierge can confirm dates and times and provide directions to the market. (NOTE: Always check the item for its authenticity.)
Italian Ventures, your Virtuoso travel agency in Fresno, CA at Piazza del Fiore.