The end of the year is approaching quickly, so it’s time to start looking for presents for family and friends. This can be a challenge if you don’t want to end up with an ordinary gift. However, if they love Venice, the possibilities are almost endless. You will find plenty of inspiration in this post to surprise them with a personal touch. I have selected a variety of gifts and experiences, which you can easily browse by profile (such as culture lovers, romantics, foodies, Venice addicts, memory collectors).
This is the third article in my series on gifts for Venice lovers. If you don’t find the perfect present here, you might be inspired by my other gift guides with a variety of presents and experiences which you can buy online or in Venice.
Gifts for culture lovers
MUVE Friend Card
This card is perfect for everyone who travels to Venice and likes museums. It gives access to the 11 museums of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. These include landmarks such as Palazzo Ducale or Museo Correr, but also smaller treasures such as Ca’ Rezzonico or Ca’ Pesaro. The advantage is that you can pop in on a museum whenever you pass by, whether it’s for a few minutes to admire one specific work or to spend a whole afternoon. It gives free access to all permanent collections and reduced rates at the temporary exhibitions. The card holder will also be invited for the opening events of all temporary exhibitions and will be kept up-to-date on the latest news. The card is valid for one year from the date of purchase.
Price: 45 euros, or 25 euros for students under 26 and Venetian residents
Private tour with Luisella of See Venice
A tour with a private guide adds a lot of value to a visit, both for first time visitors and frequent travelers. This gift will be much appreciated by your culture loving friends, as people sometimes consider this too expensive to buy for themselves. Luisella Romeo is a licensed guide in Venice since 2000, who is specialized in culture. The feedback on her tours is unanimously positive. Her motto is ‘get a guide for the details’. She organizes the visits around a variety of topics such as museums, music, churches but also marionettes or crafts. When you buy a voucher for a 2 or 3 hour tour, you don’t necessarily have to decide this upfront. The person who receives it can arrange the timing and theme directly with Luisella, without having to worry about the cost. The tour can be given in Italian, English or German.
Price: 75 euros per hour, excluding entrance fees and transportation if applicable
Gifts for romantics
Cameo from Eredi Jovon
To spoil your loved one with jewelry, you don’t always have to buy a diamond. A Venetian cameo has a lot of glamour and will certainly appeal, both to women and men. Cameos can be worn as bracelets, rings, earrings, pendants or cufflinks. All cameos from Eredi Jovon are handmade and really beautiful. The first step is to choose the type: a pink cameo made from shell, a blue cameo made from agate or a colored intaglio cameo made from glass. Afterwards, you can select a design on their online shop. To make your gift more special, you can even order a customized cameo. The artisans will then carve your own picture as a cameo. It will be really one of a kind. If you are interested to know more about how these handmade cameos are created, you can read my post ‘Venetian artisans carve the most beautiful cameos’.
Price: from 39 euros
Romantic photo shoot by Eva of Stud-Io Immagino
The ultimate present for lovebirds is without doubt a romantic photo shoot in Venice. The pictures and the experience itself will leave a lasting memory. Eva Ohtonen will take the models-for-a-day to some of the most stunning and quiet places in the city. The canals and small streets of Venice are the perfect location for this. Besides a great photographer, she is also a very nice person. Even if they usually don’t like to pose, she will put them at ease to take very natural pictures. I’m sure you will love the end result. You can take a look at some of my wedding pictures in my post ‘How to organize your destination wedding in Venice’ to see an example of her work. A photoshoot lasts between 1.5 and 4 hours depending on the number of pictures and is organized by foot or by boat. Afterwards, the pictures can be delivered digitally, in an album or a book.
Price: by foot: 300 euros (50 images), 400 euros (100 images), 500 euros (150 images); by boat: 500 euros (75 images), 700 euros (125 euros); album: from 70 euros; book: from 150 euros. If you mention this gift guide from The Venice Insider when you contact Eva, you will receive a 5% reduction.
Gifts for foodies
Venice Cult Recipes
Food lovers who enjoy dining in the fine restaurants in Venice are often tempted to make these delicious dishes at home. This is however more difficult than it seems. This cookbook can then be their secret ingredient to impress their guests. It has more than 100 recipes of typical Venetian dishes, from cichetti over secondi piatti (main course) to dolci (deserts). Some of my favorites are ‘spaghettoni alla busara’, ‘risi bisi’ or ‘fritole veneziane’. The book has also some culinary walks around Venice. Finding the right ingredients from a cookbook is often a challenge, and even more so if you only know the name in another language. Luckily, this book has already been translated in several languages besides English, such as French, German, Spanish and Dutch.
Price: approx. 25 euros
Cooking class from Cook in Venice
Following a book to create Venetian dishes at home is a first step. Learning to cook from real Venetian women in a beautiful palazzo tops it up and is an excellent gift for foodies traveling to Venice. The day starts at 9 am with grocery shopping at the Rialto market. Afterwards, the students will prepare typical Venetian dishes, such as ‘sarde in saor’, ‘baccala mantecato’, ‘bigoli in salsa’ or ‘tiramisu’, with the help of Monica and Arianna, the Cook in Venice team. Both women are very enthusiastic, so the cooks-in-training will have a great time while also learning a lot about Venice. At the end of the course, the self-made meal is served at a beautifully decorated table in the palazzo.
Price: 199 euros per person (min. 2, max. 10 people)
Gifts for Venice addicts
Books on Venice
For those who love Venice and like to dive deeper into the historical background of the city, there are plenty of interesting books which you can give as a present. I have selected 3 which I personally found very intriguing.
- ‘Evelina: A Victorian heroine in Venice’ (Judith Harris) tells the life story of Evelina van Millingen Pisani, a modern woman in the age of Queen Victoria. While visiting Venice at the age of 22, she met and married the wealthy Count Pisani. Evelina became an exotic star in Venice.
- ‘Venetian folk fairy tales’ (Daniela Zamburlin) shares the most authentic Venetian folk tradition through stories with subtle humor and beautiful drawings. The original fairy tales in Venetian dialect have been translated in Italian and English for this dual-language book.
- ‘Venice. History of the floating city’ (Joanne M. Ferraro) brings a historical portrait of Venice, from its foundations to the present day. It discusses key themes related to the city’s social, cultural, religious, and environmental history, as well as its politics and economy.
Price: approx. 25 euros
Contribution to Il Nuovo Trionfo
One thing which all Venice addicts have in common is their will to support the cultural heritage of the city. This does however require a lot of money (see my post ‘Discover how Venice finances its cultural heritage’). You can therefore give a contribution to the restoration of ‘Il Nuovo Trionfo’ in the name of your friend or family member. This trabaccolo, a typical cargo vessel from the Adriatic, was built in 1926. It is the last one of this type which is still sailing and part of the maritime history of Venice. A large part of the restoration has already been done, but more money is needed so it can serve as a training ship, a base for cultural events and to teach the next generations about the past.
Price: no minimum amount, but as from 50 euros, the receiver will be part of ‘Gli Amici del Il Nuovo Trionfo’ and be invited to take part in the activities of the association
Gifts for memory collectors
The Moleskine City Notebook Venezia is perfect for frequent travelers to Venice who like to keep track of their visits. It allows them to create their personal guidebook. I personally never travel to Venice without mine. I always take note of good restaurants or bars, nice shops or other things I want to remember. It helped me to trace back locations or to remember places I forgot about. It is also useful when someone asks for suggestions. I use it for instance as a basis for my page ‘My favourite addresses in Venice’. The notebook has maps of the city with an index of street names, as well as a vaporetto map. It’s rather small (9*14 cm) which makes it a perfect size to carry around while wandering around Venice. (Note: the notebook seems to be out of stock on several major sites, with the exception of Amazon Germany and Amazon Italia. You might have to ask your local shop if they still have one in stock.)
Price: approx. 30 euros
Alternatively, you can order a notebook of The Venice Insider. It’s the same size, but doesn’t have the city maps. The 80 white pages are lined. Send me a mail if you would like to order one.
Price: 10 euros (excl. shipment)
Large format print
Finally, if you want to give a memory of your visit to Venice or of one of the experiences above, you can order a large print of your most beautiful picture. It’s not only a beautiful piece of decoration, but more importantly it makes sure you never forget the beauty of Venice. People might even think it’s a professional picture, because the canvas, printed edges and satin finish make your own pictures look even more special. You can choose a size which fits perfectly in your home. Prints vary in size from 20*30 cm up to 90*120 cm.
Price: from 17 euros
Did you find something that will please your friends and family? If not, don’t forget to look at the other articles on gifts ‘Top 10 ideas to find the perfect gift in Venice’ or ‘Top 10 ideas to find the perfect Venice gift online’. Alternatively, take a look at my favourite novels which are set in Venice. These make also good gifts for passionate readers.
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