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Venice > Sightseeing > Top 11 free sights > Shopping streets

Shopping Streets

From: Venice's Top 11 Free Sights

Venice shopping street

ABOVE: Commuters and shoppers mingle on a Venice pedestrian thoroughfare.

Shopping isn't free in Venice, but window-shopping is--and there are plenty of boutiques to ogle or browse.

Venice shop windowsHigh-fashion and luxury goods are in the San Marco area, mostly in the streets that lead out of the arcaded or Napoleonic end of the Piazza. You'll find upscale brands like Missoni, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, and Gucci in San Marco, along with more affordable (and practical) shops such as Libreria Studium, a bookstore with a good range of English-language guidebooks and maps.

pigmentsHead down the Mercerie shopping streets toward Rialto, or in the direction of the Campo San Stefano, and you'll encounter hundreds of other shops that sell everything from clothing to handmade stationery, Murano glass, and art supplies.

I Tre MercantiTo the north and east of the Piazza San Marco, in the Castello district, shops like I Tre Mercanti (Italian foods and wines), and Ratti (housewares, hardware, and acqua alta boots) are worth your time.

Billa supermarket on Strada NovaFarther west in Cannaregio, on the way to the railway station, the wide pedestrian thoroughfare of Strada Nova has a mixture of souvenir stores and everyday shops used by Venetians.

The Rialto Bridge and the Rialto Food Markets (discussed earlier in this guide) are packed with shoppers; on the San Polo side of the bridge, turn left and follow the series of narrow streets all the way to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Dorsoduro if you can avoid getting lost. You'll pass souvenir shops, jewelers, an Il Pavone stationery store, and other retailers. (As you get closer to the tip of Dorsoduro, you'll see more art galleries and antique dealers.)

Murano shop signThe island of Murano is the center of the Lagoon's glass industry, and Burano--a traditional lacemaking center--has shops that sell lace and linens. (Prices aren't necessarily any cheaper than you'd pay in Venice, but the specialized window-shopping and browing opportunities are more concentrated.)

Finally, you may want to think twice before purchasing counterfeit handbags and other goods from illegal street vendors. (See article links below.)

Related articles:

Next page: Islands of the Lagoon

Top 11 Free Sights in Venice:
1. Piazza San Marco
2. Basilica di San Marco
3. Venice Waterfront (St. Mark's Basin)
4. Grand Canal
5. Rialto Bridge
6. Rialto Food Markets
7. Venetian Ghetto
8. Canali, Campi, Calli (canals, squares, back streets)
9. Churches (Salute, Carmini, and others that don't charge admission)
10. Shopping Streets
11. Islands (San Michele, Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido)
Printable 'Top 11 Free Sights' List

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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