If you’ve made it all the way to Venice, don’t bring tacky made-in-China souvenirs back home! Here are the perfect authentic, local artisan Venetian gifts your friends will cherish, and where to find them.
A Venetian Mask From Cà Macana
For that friend who’s always covered in glitter and feathers at a costume party, find them a beautiful Venetian mask at one of the oldest and finest mask making workshops in Venice. Cà Macana is one of the few places where all masks are made by hand, following the strict rules of centuries-old Venetian tradition, and they specialize in both traditional Commedia dell'arte and Venetian styles.
Statement Murano Glass Jewelry And Objets D’Art From Marina E Susanna Sent
For your most artistic, design-savvy friend, and bonus if they’re a feminist—Marina e Susanna Sent is run by a Murano-born sister duo who defy the typically male tradition of Venice glassmaking and blowing. The statement jewelry creations here are almost too beautiful to wear, like the soap bubble necklaces and wearable waterfalls. You can also find glass-infused plates, interwoven glass lampshades, and colorful vases, perfect for unique home decor.
Old-World Spices From Drogheria Mascari
The only surviving spice merchant on a street once named for them, Drogheria Mascari is the place to find something special for your friend who’s a fabulous home cook. In addition to hundreds of high-quality spices, you can find numerous truffles, tea, dried mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar, available by the gram or liter, plus unusual jams and candy.
A Bottle Of Bulk Wine From Vino Sfuso
This is Italy’s best kept secret: Vino Sfuso—bulk wine poured from a pump. Peruse the selection of reasonably priced offerings from nearby producers, grab a bottle, then hand it to the shopkeeper and he’ll take care of the rest. Be the hit at your next house party when you bring a giant bottle of artisanal Venetian wine to share.
Letterpress Stationery From Gianni Basso Stampatore
Your bookish, Moleskine carrying friend will appreciate exquisite paper products from this local letterpress workshop run by modest artisan Gianni Basso, who’s made items for Susan Sontag, Hugh Grant, Gale Greene, and the like. Purchase them a set of personalized cards, which Basso makes with antique letterpresses and hand-carved wood printing blocks using time-honored techniques learned from Armenian monks.