What to buy in Venice and the Veneto




1. Masks. Elaborate masks are good gifts, or for something more portable and less expensive, get a hand-painted mask to hang on the wall, something like in the photo above. Or, for a more hands-on approach, enroll in a half-day mask making course like the one at Ca’ Macana.

2. Stationery or notebooks. Cartoleria (stationery stores) all over Italy are full of gorgeous handmade paper from the Veneto. After visiting a few stores you’ll start to recognize the typical patterns on notebook covers. 

Murano Venice glass vase

3. Glass. This can range from a vase or Murano chandelier to smaller items. Some of my favorite smaller gifts to bring home for friends are glass candies (bonbons), glass fountain pens (they do work, though you need an inkpot) and glass-topped wine stoppers.

4. Prosecco and red wine. You’ll likely want to drink some before you leave, and the Veneto has lots of good wineries. Local red wines to try include the high-end Amarone and the lower-end but still excellent Valpolicella. Prosecco, Amarone and Valpolicella are easy to find outside Italy, but in general the brands that are consumed locally are not exported and vice-versa, so if you find one you really like, consider shipping home a case.

5. Lace. This almost didn’t make the list but I’m including it with a buyer beware: once famous for handmade lace, Venice’s island of Burano now sells lace mostly made in China. The way to tell whether it might be locally made? The (very high) price tag.

Looking for Italian discounts near Venice? One of my favorite Italian outlet malls is about a half-hour from Venice.

Photos by Sanjay


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