Since 1984, La bottega dei Mascareri has been showcasing and selling masks. Each of the mask is a masterpiece that stands for innovation and mastery over intricate designs. The hand-painted masks often feature in Hollywood movies as well as California Shakespeare Festivals taking this art beyond the bounds of Europe. The owner-cum-artist Sergio will be more than happy to show you around and help you to choose one.
Masks of all kinds are available at Ca' Macana, one of the best-known, mask-making studios in Venice. They produce a wide range of masks including favorites as Pulcinella (Punch), the Bauta, the Plague Doctor and the colored, gilded eye-masks. Many of them can be spotted in Tiepolo paintings. In the nearby workshop, the owner organizes courses teaching the theory and the practice of mask-making and explaining how to prepare papier-mâché decorations. Ca' Macana also offers short conferences on the history of Carnival and the importance of masks in the city's culture.
Each town has its fair share of shopping areas and streets, Venice is no exception to this. Mercerie is one of its historic and premium shopping area that comprises several streets. Most of the boutiques along this area are high end brands like Gucci, Versace and Cartier. Don't fret, as Mercerie does have stands that sell knick knacks, souvenirs, hand-painted masks, jewellery and so forth. And, if all that shopping tires you, then head to one of the many bars that are located here.
Murano in the Venetian laguna is famous for its glassware production. Most glass workshops and factories can be visited free of charge, and more glassware can be admired at the Museo Vetrario, which displays the history of Venetian glass-blowing. Nearly all the shops on the island cater to the glass trade. Crowds are leaner during the off-season winter months. Other interesting sites are the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato and Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, both renowned for their impressive architecture and artworks.
Venetia Studium Fortuny is located on Calle Larga XXII Marzo, in San Marco, not far from the workshop where its products are made. The quaint store stocks on beautiful home accessories and is quite famous for its exquisite lampshades. Apart from some of the most gorgeous lamps, Venetia Stadium offers pretty household furnishings like scarves silken pillows. There are some seriously stunning handbags on offer as well. The fabrics used look plush, regal and add to uniqueness of each of these products. Although the prices may seem high, they are well worth it.
A trip to Venice is incomplete without mask shopping, this city is known for its shops that sell different masks. Il Canovaccio is one such place that features exquisitely hand-made masks that will surely leave you awe struck. Delicate designs, bold colors, intricate patterns, take your pick as the staff takes you through hand-painted masks of different varieties. For more details, check website.
This jeweler opened in the mid-19th Century and over the years has become an institution in Venice, close to the Rialto Bridge. It's the place to buy Rolex and diamonds, and the customer service is excellent.
Before exploring Venice, if you would like to know about this beautiful city, start off at Libreria Studium. This local and popular bookshop stocks books that highlight the history and culture of Venice. Apart from that, it also sells other stuff like novels, childrens literature and so forth. However, its collection is not restricted to Italian language, but also features books in Spanish, English and French.
If you need to rent costumes for a perfect Carnival disguise, Atelier Venetia’s tailors offer a great selection of them. Antonia Sautter designs historical costumes and also personally creates new fantasy ones that are usually the highlights of Venice Carnival Dances. Quite often she uses fabrics of her own design and production. Antonia also revitalized the Venetian tradition of Carnival parties, creating the famous Ballo del Doge. She also produces silk and damask pillows in various shapes and sizes, velvet accessories and slippers for everyday use. They are on sale in her shops along the Frezzeria (just off Piazza San Marco) together with papier-mâché masks, puppets and home furnishings.
The publishing house and bookshop, Libreria Filippi, lies on Casselleria in the Castello district. A mainstay for many, many years, this charming, old bookstore is a haven for bibliophiles from all over the world. The family run shop, which is now operated by the third generation of its founding family, stocks a very good range of books on Venice and the Venetian culture - whether it's you're interested in history, architecture, art, costumes, theater or music - you'll find a plethora of informative books and magazines here. There are several hard-to-find, out-of-print books on offer too, along with an interesting collection of photo archives and various other ephemera.
Libreria Bertoni is truly off the beaten track. It is on the Calle della Mandola, which runs from Campo Manin to Sant'Angelo. At the top of the fork where the calle runs past the Fortuny building, you will find this piece of the past. It is a second-hand bookshop, but not in the usual sense. Bertoni follows in his father's footsteps and goes out looking for rare books, both in other bookshops and in the warehouses of publishing houses. It is a place for true bibliophiles. Pop in and have a look.