8 December 2009

Christmas shopping in Venice

If you are visiting Venice in December and are looking for Christmas presents, here are some shops where you can find good gifts and stocking-fillers.

  • The Guggenheim shop (on the canalside outside the gallery) has a good range of art gifts, cool novelty items and books. I liked the souvenir Venice mugs (more stylish than you'll find in a tourist shop), a black-cat-shaped neck pillow, and groovy accessories.
  • Signor Blum - stocks brightly-coloured wooden building-block models of Venice landmarks, magnets, mobiles and other gifts for children. (in Campo San Barnaba, vaporetto stop Ca' Rezzonico).
  • Viziovirtù - good for posh chocolates; and they have a chocolate nativity scene in their window (vaporetto stop San Tomà)
  • Murano glass - on the island of Murano you can purchase some of the costly glasssware produced on the island - if you're confident about packing fragile items, a set of elegant wine glasses would make a very special present. Not all local glass products are bulky: a few years ago I bought glass beads on Murano and made necklaces for my friends.
  • 18th-20th December - a small antiques and handicrafts market in Campo San Maurizio, good for unusual or one-off gifts.
  • Gondolier calendar - available from news-stands and tourist stalls, this photographic collection of Venetian gondoliers could make a good present for a female friend.
  • Caffe Florian is Venice's most famous cafe, and -at a price - you can take a piece of it home for friends and relatives. Inside the entrance is a desk where you can buy coffees, teas, chocolates and china.

Sadly, the Christmas markets and events organised in previous years are not taking place in 2009. However, the shops above make a good starting point for Christmas presents. If you run out of space in your suitcase or forget anyone, both Venice airports (Marco Polo and Treviso) have shops selling souvenirs and a good choice of food gifts like wine, chocolates from Caffe Florian and olive oils.

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