Shopping in Venice ★★

A glass shop in Venice
Glass in Venice. (Photo by Wiredtourist)

Shopping for Venetian glass and Murano chandeliers—plus other classic Venice gifts like lace and Carnival masks

You'll find examples of the triumvirate of Venetian craft specialties—Murano glass, Burano lace, and Carnival masks—plastered everywhere about town.

However, if you're looking for the real thing, or are buying with a collector's eye, you'll have to shell out big bucks to ensure quality.

Here are some of the top emporia for each art, where every piece on display is guaranteed hand crafted by Venetian artisans.

Le Mercerie: The Street of the Merchants

For a simple shopping stroll along one of Venice's premier (and priciest) avenues, head out of Piazza San Marco under the clock tower onto Le Mercerie, the shopping corridor of Venice for hundreds of years.

"Mercerie" means "merchants," and while the twisting and turning series of connected streets changes names frequently, the word "merceria" is always part of it.

It is still lined by shops and trinket boutiques—and some surprisingly good-value restaurants (like La Campana)—that threads all the way to the Rialto Bridge.

Venice shopping and glass tours

Tips & links

Shopping tours of Venice
Go to the sources: Murano & Burano

The best blown glass is actually out on the island of Murano, which is where "Venetian" glass originated. » more

The place famous for Venetian lace is actually the candy-colored island of Burano. » more

Besides; both beautiful outlying islands are worth visiting for more than their shopping.


Don't be afraid to bargain, especially if you're buying more than one item.

Let them mail it home for you

They have loads of experience packing glass so it doesn't break.

Would you really carry the thing around in your bag from hotel to hotel, running with it to catch trains and slinging it into the trunk of your rental car, only then to entrust your delicate glass baubles to the airline baggage handlers? Nope.

Accept the shipping cost as part of the price of buying the glass.

Buy with your instincts

If your idea of the perfect blown-glass souvenir is a tiny glass gondola, or a touristy glass Carnival mask, or even a glass Homer Simpson (with or without pornographically enormous phallus), that is precisely what you should buy.

Be happy with your purchase.

When I was 11, I bought—from some nondescript Venetian glass shop—a tiny black cat and spent the next several years (and several moves) carefully keeping its impossibly delicate glass whiskers, thinner than a human hair, from snapping off.

Gift suggestion

Blown glass Christmas tree ornaments are both very Venetian and quite classy.

Venice links & resources

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