Venice, fashion, crafts, shopping and aperitifs with a view
Shopping tour and aperitifs? You are spoiled for choice in Venice!
1. Glass, lace, fabrics and jewellery: discovering the craft traditions of Venice
The creative talent and refined products of Venetian craftsmen have given life to some of the symbolic products of Made in Italy: from the splendid blown glass made in the furnaces on the island of Murano to the precious lace from Burano, where the buying experience blends with the thrill of seeing a small work of art come to life in the skilled hands of these artisans. Strolling around the quarters of the city, alongside modern boutiques and concept stores you can also lose your way among the small shops that create masterpieces with pearls, gold, paper and leather - not to mention the ateliers making historical masks and costumes, artistic jewels, tailors, ancient weaving, workshops and print shops where you can buy unique and collectible pieces.
2. The historic craft of weaving
The craft of weaving is one of the oldest arts in Venice. The city is still home to historic hand-crafted weavers who produce silks, velvets, damasks and brocades in great demand all over the world. It is well-worth visiting Tessitura Bevilacqua (in the Santa Croce district), the oldest still in business, where since 1875 production has used XVIII looms to make the highly-prized soprarizzo velvet and other fine fabrics. It can be visited on appointment. The place has an archive of more than 3500 original drawings - a paradise for fashion lovers. Moving on to the San Marco district, we find the Rubelli Company, renowned for its production of trimmings, counter-cut velvets, soprarizzi (partly curled velvet), lampas and brocades. Visits can be arranged by appointment. There is a collection of over 6000 ancient textile documents, as well as precious silk velvets made for the Royal House of Savoy. The last stop on this journey into the world of Venetian fabrics is the Giudecca island. Here, you can visit the historical home of the artistic fabric factory of Mariano Fortuny. Here, too, materials, designs, highly-prized fabrics and fashion accessories are on show to the public.
3. The high fashion streets in Venice
For lovers of high fashion, a stroll along Calle Larga XXII Marzo, one of the most chic streets in Venice, is an absolute must. A stone's throw from St. Mark's Square, and along the Mercerie connecting it with the Rialto quarter, you will find all the top names in Italian and international fashion. Another centre for luxury is located in the San Marco sestiere, near the Rialto Bridge. The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a splendid Renaissance-style building overlooking the Grand Canal and home to high-fashion boutiques and Venetian craftsmanship. The roof of this beautiful, recently restored building has a wonderful terrace with a magnificent view over the city.
4. A visit to bookshop hunting for unusual books
For people looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience, the old bookshops in Campo Santa Margherita are ideal places for browsing among rare books and antique prints in fascinating and unexpected contexts. For example, second-hand book lovers definitely shouldn't miss the Acqua Alta Bookshop, in Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa (Castello quarter). It was included by the BBC in a ranking of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. On entering, you can't help but notice the books stacked in a bathtub and a gondola! These unexpected pieces of furniture are not there by chance but have a very specific function: on high tide days they protect the precious volumes from the water that floods the shop. Another historical bookshop is La Toletta. Founded in 1933, it is the oldest bookshop in Venice and also one of the largest.
5. An aperitif overlooking the Basilica of San Marco or on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal
The late afternoon, after a day of shopping, discoveries and curiosities, is the ideal time to take a relaxing break: time for an aperitif! There are many places where you can enjoy the typical Venetian aperitif. We recommend two that should not be missed: The Correr Museum Café. It has become a meeting point for local people and visitors to the Museum and is a genuine Venetian lounge where you can relax while enjoying a unique view on the Basilica of St. Mark. If you are looking for a more glamorous and modern environment, we suggest an aperitif on the terrace of the spectacular Ca' Giustinian Palace, today home to the offices of La Biennale di Venezia.