Spring is perfect for exploring Venice, finding interesting shops along the city’s narrow passageways is easy without all the large summer crowds. Shopping for locally made trinkets is nice when the staff, or owners can spend time explaining all the great aspects of their wares.
Water taxis to Murano, Burano and the neighboring islands are simple to use and there are plenty of seats. The best restaurants are selling fantastic seafood without lines, or long wait times and the best part is the gondolas are discounted. I also shared some shopping suggestions at the end of this post.
During the spring of 2018 I met my friend Fiorella in Venice. She was working in Italy, in a small town outside of Rome during that time. She took a train to meet me to explore this eclectic city. The airport and train station are located on the mainland of Venice, to get to the historic center I took a water taxi from the airport then a shuttle boat to where we stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky. Taking the shuttle boat to the center from the hotel was easy because they depart every half hour. The hotel is fantastic, it’s an old factory that was restored into a maze of a giant hotel. On the rooftop there is a nightclub, bars and an outdoor pool. The executive lounge had the best tomato juice I’ve ever had.
The city was filled with people even after the carnival celebrations. Some were spring breakers and others retirees, all of them out exploring the city streets. The week before we arrived the city was under water, but by the time we arrived the water had receded back into the canals. We stayed four nights and took the boat to Modena and Burano, the water bus tickets included Torcello, but we didn’t go. Taking the water bus from place to place was easy to get around and the cost was low. We didn’t see a reason for a tour since it’s all self-explanatory. Many of the glass factories have their own tours and some don’t charge for tours. There are a lot of cool shops and antiques in Murano. While browsing we met a few store owners who told us everything about the history of different styles of glass.
Our first day was spent exploring the historic center; winding through alleyways bordered by cute shops selling masks, boutiques, a hat store where I bought three really cute hats and lots of fun ceramics. The alleys open into courtyards where cafes and restaurants organize their outside seating. Some of these squares are along the canals and lined with market vendors selling all the food one could want.
On our second day we ventured out to Murano for the glass factories and to explore the charming town. While there we stopped in many of the glass stores, one where we talked to the woman working about the process of making the glass. Before we left we bought a few small glass cuff links for my brother and a little glass jewelry box. Fiorella found some cute earrings. The woman working there suggested we try the owner’s restaurant Al Ponte Storto Osteria con Cucina in the historic center.
After exploring Murano, we took a water taxi to Burano which is fantastic for taking pictures. The bright buildings are the ideal backdrop for Instagram pictures. Cute little bridges over the canals and a charming harbor are great for a sunny afternoon, or late afternoon sunset. Burano was known for making lace; due to their history of making fishing nets, it does seem that wherever people make nets, they also make lace. After exploring the streets and cute shops of lace dresses we stopped for a coffee and the famous buranello cookies.
While the sun was setting we took the water taxi back to Venice and walked around some more before going to Al Ponte Osteria for an amazing dinner. We had the best fried fish mixture I’ve ever had, amazing gnocchi and the best panna cotta either of us have had. The owner met with us and told us she was happy to see we came because the lovely woman from her shop let her know we would. This was the kind of little side alley restaurant that you would go to only as a local, it’s not a tourist place, it was fantastic.
The third day we did more exploring and shopping. I didn’t want to buy much because my brother made a good point about buying and filling my storage unit with more things I won’t be able to show off until who knows when I settle down. I bought a little glass ornament that’s one of those carnival fish in a bag made out of glass. It’s small enough that I bring it with me wherever I travel to. I put it in the bathroom and feel a sense of security that I’m home, wherever I am, I’m home.
Since spring weather is unpredictable it’s a good idea to take a rain jacket and rain boots. Don’t bring too much clothes because you need space to buy some new pieces. Burano has amazing lace dresses and their prices are reasonable. The historic center has some cool boutiques in the squares, explore the alleys to find some cool hat shops and dress shops for Venetian fashion. The glasses and fun kitchen wares are a must to take home for gifts.
Some Shopping Suggestions:
Monica Daniele per Tabarro San Marco
Calle del Scaleter, 2235, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Marega Renzo Atelier
Fondamenta dell’Osmarin, 4976/a, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
Ca ‘Macana Atelier
Cannaregio, 1374/75, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Beba Maschere Decorazioni
Campo S. Polo, 370/A, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
MARTINA VIDAL Venice
Flagship Store, Via San Mauro, 309, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
Original Murano Glass OMG® Factory & Showroom
Fondamenta S. Giovanni dei Battuti, 4b, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy