See also Pot-Pourri in Fashion & Accessories.
Angela R. Greco
Just before the delle Ostreghe bridge if you are coming from Campo San Stefano toward Piazza San Marco, this tiny shop looks like a cluttered antiques shop from the outside, but it’s a beloved Venetian institution that is famous for its traditional artisanship, in particular its hand-made Fortuny fabric-covered lampshades. It was run for years by two Greco sisters, and Angela Greco holds court in a cozy corner, where she greets customers and works on repairs. Many decorators count on her to match fabrics and remember old designs. For those who like the classic shield-like Venetian lamp shades, this is the place to come.
You can place orders for custom pillowcases and tapestries at the well-known fabric house’s boutique. As insider Francesca Bortolotto Possati notes in her insider tips, “one of the oldest tapestry and silk makers in Venice, is the place to go for extraordinary brocades, damasks and velvets. Arrange an appointment with the owner to visit the original 18th century treadle looms that are still used to craft some of the exclusive, elaborate fabrics.”
Indagare insider Marie Brandolini, known for her innovative, colorful glass creations based on traditional Venetian designs, recommends Bruno Amadi: “Bruno Amadi carries beautiful flame-worked glass branches of coral, animals, flowers and insects. Moving and exquisitely decorative glass objects.”
See Cristina Linassi, which sells lovely bedroom linens and accessories along with lingerie and nightgowns.
Located on the Grand Canal next to the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum, Leslie Genninger’s shop displays her passion and dedication to the work of Venice’s glassmakers. A transplanted American, Genninger designs and commissions beads to craft into her one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Many of the handblown beads are lined with twenty-four-karat gold, and their intense colors make them glow like stained-glass windows.
Founded in 1870, Jesurum still sells the city’s finest lacework. And given the examples of incredible handmade lace that you see all over the city, you may suddenly find that you want to bring some home. Accurate reproductions of patterns frist created by founder Michelangelo Jesurum are still painstakingly turned out by faithful craftsmen. The bedspreads, table runners and towels at this well-stocked branch, not far from St. Mark’s, have gorgeous lace detailing. The colors tend to be muted with many choices in ivory and beige.
L’Angolo del Passato di Giordana Naccari
If you want to pick up a glass souvenir but are put off by run-of-the-mill offerings, go to Giordana Naccari’s store, in Dorsoduro. Here you’ll find masterpieces from the ’20s and ’30s, as well as contemporary creations. Marie Brandolini’s line of Laguna B. glassware, a thoroughly modern and fresh take on traditional glassmaking, is also available here.
As insider Francesca Bortolotto Possati says in her insider tips, “If you want to take home a piece of Venetian glass but are tired of the same old, same old, head to Massimo Micheluzzi’s workshop near the Accedemia for an entirely new and personal twist on this centuries-old tradition. Stressing the monochromatic, Micheluzzi’s vessels take on a sculptural quality that extracts the essence of Venetian light playing on water, old stones, and brick.”
The largest of Italy’s last three mosaic foundries, Orsoni was founded in 1888 and makes all of its glass tiles the old-fashioned way. Down a small lane in the ghetto district is a collection of buildings that house the ovens, the storerooms, cutting rooms, offices and gallery as well as a classroom and five bedrooms. (When the one- or two-week mosaic making classes are in session they are reserved for students. See Domus Orsoni.)
After viewing the incredible mosaic work of St. Mark’s Basilica, it’s illuminating to see how much labor goes into crafting each square. You can buy bags of mosaics in thousandss of colors; those with gold or silver leaf being the most expensive. Orsoni tiles have been used in restoration work all over Italy, including St. Mark’s, and across the world on landmarks such as Sacre Coeur in Paris and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. “Macedonia is rebuilding many of its churches,” our tour guide informed us, “so that is where lots of these tiles will be shipped.” One-week classes begin at 750; two-week classes . A tour for four people is €60.
Seguso Gianni & Co.
Maestro Gianni Seguso, who founded this glassworks studio on the island of Murano in 1982, comes from a long line of master glassworkers. He apprenticed under his father Guido Seguso and was only eighteen when he earned the title of Maestro Vetraio, or master glassworker. The studio works with a lot of designers and architects on custom pieces and has supplied masterpieces for Berlusconi’s residences among others. The emphasis is on custom work so while you can view samples, just about everything is made to order, even a set of glasses. Before you place your order, check out the workroom, where you can view craftsmen blowing glass—the atmosphere is pretty dingy but the pieces are exquisite.
Tip: There are other Seguso glass sellers with no connection to this atelier; this is our favorite.
Susanna & Marina Sent
The two Venetian Sent sisters have brought new flair to the modern glass scene with their housewares and jewelry, which they sell in a number of local museum shops as well as in their boutique in a little square near the Peggy Guggenheim collection.
Venice may put you in the mood for owning Fortuny silk, especially after a visit to the Museo Fortuny. In this boutique, you can indulge your craving in the form of re-editions of Fortuny lamps, printed silk scarves, purses in various shapes, pillows and more.