Arnoldo & Battois
Arnoldo & Battois offers bold and innovative handbags, clothing, and accessories designed to balance traditional elegance and contemporary vision. These handmade bags reflect a high level of craftsmanship and employ rich materials such as python leather, Japanese silks, and utilize steel accouterments to create dynamic and fashion-forward pieces.
This the place to find great cloaks, whether you want one for Carnival or just because they are classic shapes that work well in the evening in black velvet or in winter in wool, which is so tightly woven that it’s waterproof. Owned by Silvana Martin, Balocoloc sources papier maché masks from a number of local artists and does sell over the internet. It’s also the place to find fancy period costumes for men and women if you need one for a Carnival ball. By appointment only.
Consorzio delle Botteghe della Solidarietà
Amongst the tourists stalls of the Rialto bridge is an international co-op that sells attractive goods from third world craftsmen at extremely reasonable prices. So if you need to pick up a lightweight linen bag in bright lemon yellow or electric green to carry home purchases or as a reusable shopping bag, you can find it here and know that you are helping support a struggling community.
Lace-making schools may no longer be found in Venice as they once were, but the tradition of crafting exquisite linens for beds, baths and tables is still preserved at this lovely shop. Venetian Cristina represents the third generation of her family to devote themselves to designing beautiful textiles, and she is equally known for her lovely, lace-adorned lingerie lines as for her custom bed and table linens. As a collector of antique lace and textiles, she understands heritage, but her designs have a modern aesthetic, combining the best of old and new.
The island of Burano is famous for its lace and the premier shop to find exquisite lace-trimmed lingerie and linens is Emilia Burano. They also have an outpost at the Hotel Cipriani.
A favorite boutique of stylish locals, Fabio Gatto carries many Italian labels as well as its own leather goods.
In the true tradition of Venetian artistry, Giavanna Zanella apprenticed under a legendary shoe master before she opened this shop. She sold bags and belts originally but now focuses full-time on exquisite hand-made leather shoes, which she crafts right at her work table in a corner of the boutique. (Often an apprentice sits at her right hand, literally, watching and working alongside her.) Shelves display examples of her talent and creativity. One pair resembles a bare foot with painted toenails. Another is embellished with pop-up flower petals. Each pair can be custom ordered (takes about two months) but only after a client has had their foot measured in the shop, so only repeat customers can place orders over the phone or by internet.
Gorgeous leather gloves in mouth-watering colors for men and women with decorative details, cashmere linings and trims that are memorable. You can also order online.
This San Polo boutique (the name means “migration”) showcases the works of some 60 Iranian artisans, from ceramicists and textile makers to glassblowers and painters. “Iran and Venice used to have this lively trade,” explains owner Yasra Pouyeshman who can speak passionately about every piece in the store and the craftsperson who made it.
“Between our destinations, there was always a through-line of creativity.” For example, she says, Murano mirrors were exported to Iran in the 17th and 18th centuries, but by the time they arrived, many were often broken. Seeing as they were precious commodities, the Iranian craftspeople came up with a beautiful way to reuse them. As any traveler who has visited the country’s rich palaces and marveled at their mosaic-studded mirror rooms can attest: sometimes what appears broken is just waiting to be reborn as something else.
While Kooch carries some gorgeous larger pieces for the home, including mirrors, paintings and furniture, it’s also a great spot for snapping up smaller, luggage-fitting crafts, including embroidered handbags and hammered-silver bowls.
La Compagnia delle Perle
There used to be many places in Venice where you could pick your own glass beads to design necklaces or bracelets, but most have disappeared. This attractive boutique, near the Campo Santi Apostoli, has racks of beads of glass, wood and aluminum in dozens of shapes, sizes and colors. You can buy things that are already made by the women in the shop or you can get a basket and select your own pattern, which they will prepare to your wishes as you wait. It’s a fun, hands-on activity for kids.
Founded by Angelo Missiaglo in 1846, this showroom (viewable by appointment only) produces fine jewelry and silver pieces. The store is not only famous for its use of traditional techniques in jewelry making but also for its tenured experience, which goes back six generations. Particularly beloved are the sterling silver salt and pepper shakers fashioned in the form of fruits and vegetables.
Guerrino Lovato’s carnival masks, for sale here, are true works of art. Stanley Kubrick used Lovato’s masks in his film Eyes Wide Shut. Unquestionably, the best place in Venice to invest in one worthy of Carnival.
Nanà Italian Heart
Pot-Pourri, which began on the mainland more than thirty years ago, is sort of the Veneto region’s answer to Blanc d’Ivoire in Paris in that it celebrates an elegant Italian view of life in the country. The two adjacent boutiques in Venice, which are housed in the palazzo where Goethe once stayed, focus on fashion and home. The three owners, Marina, Malica and Melania, select all of the clothes and objects, drawing on Italian designers such as Avoncelli, Scapa and Santoni as well as their own designs. Painted white cupboards display pretty linens and dishware that is perfect for eating in a manor house in Tuscany or a villa on Sicily. Clothes carry on the theme of the well-lived weekend: tailored riding jackets and slacks for Tuscan walks or Capri-style clothes for days spent on a boat.
Beautiful, high-quality leather gloves in many colors and designs can be found in this boutique on one of Venice’s main shopping thoroughfares near Piazza San Marco. They are great for gifts and pack easily.
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS
Original Fortuny fabrics can be found at this boutique located in La Serenissima. The shop is a marvel in itself, with paneled ceilings, Venetian lacquered furniture and ceramics from the 15th to the late 18th centuries. The textiles, masks and accessories can be had at cheaper prices than in the UK and U.S.
Venice may put you in the mood for owning Fortuny silk, especially after a visit to the Museo Fortuny. In this boutique, you can indulge your craving in the form of re-editions of Fortuny lamps, printed silk scarves, purses in various shapes, pillows and more.