Buying a present for someone who loves Venice can be a challenge. They probably already have a wide collection of everything possible related to the city of their dreams. You also don’t want to give a typical souvenir of which they are a dime a dozen.
In this fourth gift guide, I will share with you some original gift ideas. It includes relatively new concepts developed by Venetian creatives, projects which support the local community as well as more practical gifts for those who travel frequently to Venice.
Screen prints with Venetian themes
A screen print of Small Caps makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves Venice and graphic design. You can choose between a poster or just a small postcard. The workshop in Cannaregio is full of colour. You could easily spend hours trying to grasp the underlying messages on the posters. Some focus on typical Venetian elements such as rowing or palazzos. There are also several that deal with more sensitive topics such as the large cruise ships or pollution. Most of the works have been designed for specific events or for local businesses, such as for Libreria Marcopolo. The prints are created by a group of young Venetians who are very enthusiastic about their work. I really enjoyed talking to them. You can buy the posters in their workshop (Dorsoduro, Calle dell’Avogaria 1610) or contact them via mail if you want to have it shipped.
Souvenirs designed by young Venetian artists
Souvenirs are often the same, whether you buy them in Venice, Paris or New York. The only difference is the name on the mug or t-shirt. At Feelin’ Venice however, you can find a series of modern souvenirs designed by a group of young Venetians. The shop was founded in 2017 by Mattia Gesiot and Filippo Soffrizzi to share their passion for Venice through their art. They look at the most significant symbols of Venice from a different perspective. It’s their tribute to everything the city can offer. You will still find bags, notebooks, t-shirts, mugs or posters, but they all come with a modern twist and a catchy detail of Venice. They also sell the Fero da Prua bracelet, with a small version of the metal decoration from the front of a gondola. You can find all their products in their shop in Calle dei Fabri (San Marco 1007), or choose from the online selection.
Euro coin with San Marco basilica
In 2017, the Italian Mint presented a new 2 euros coin with the San Marco basilica to celebrate the 400th anniversary of its completion. Besides the façade of the basilica, you can find the following elements on the coin: “1617” and “2017” – the year of completion of the basilica and that of the coin’s issue; “RI” – the monogram of the Italian Republic; the inscriptions “SAN MARCO” and “VENEZIA”; “LDS” – the initials of the designer Luciana De Simoni; “R” – the Mint of Rome; and the twelve stars of the European Union. 1.5 million coins have been distributed, but I have to admit I never managed to get hold of one. You can however buy the 2 euros coin via the website of the Italian Mint.
Design objects from Venetian wood
These beautifully crafted objects, made from waste wood from Venice and the lagoon, are perfect as decoration in any interior. Pieces of Venice designs both children’s toys and decorative objects for adults from old materials such as jetties, mooring poles, and acqua alta boardwalks. This means that you will have your own little piece of Venice at home. Their aim is to preserve the identity of Venice, passing on its memories by recycling and reusing its building materials. The production is done by companies whose goals involve social revitalization and rehabilitation. Each object has been named with an address in Venice, which has a link to the object, to create a sense of belonging. I personally love the taxi (San Pietro di Castello 364) and the walking stick (Castello 3698) most. All gifts can be ordered online. You can also buy them at Bragorà (Sant’Antonin, Castello 3496), a fascinating shop which I can’t resist entering each time I pass it.
Bags made by Santa Maria Maggiore prisoners
The Cooperativa Sociale Rio Terà dei Pensieri helps prisoners from the Santa Maria Maggiore Men’s Prison by offering them training and professional rehabilitation. This will facilitate their reintegration in daily life and the job market after their imprisonment. Their recycled PVC lab has been active since 2009. Under the brand name Malefatte, they create all sorts of PVC bags and accessories (such as handbags, wallets, mobile phone cases, passport holders) from recycled advertising banners and truck canvases. Each piece is therefore original and one-of-a-kind. With this unique gift, you also support a good cause and support the environment. You can buy the hand-made goods in their shop on Fondamenta dei Frari (San Polo 2559/A), in a wide variety of other shops in Venice or online.
Transportation and museum passes
Frequent visitors of Venice will always be pleased with a transportation pass for the vaporetto. You can buy one for a day or even up to a week. You can also add a selection of museums, churches, WIFI access and other services to create a Platinum, Gold or Silver City Pass. Take a look at the website of Venezia Unica (the tourism office) to find out which pass would fit best for your friend or family member. When you buy the pass online, you will receive a QR code which you can print and give as a present. Upon arrival in Venice, the code has to be scanned at one of the machines spread all over the city which will then print the transportation pass. The validity only starts when they use it for the first time, so you don’t need to worry about the exact travel dates.
Flight to Venice
If you would like to spend a bit more money (depending on where you live though), you can give a flight ticket to Venice. You can be sure that it will be used and that you will be remembered during their entire trip. I discovered the Kiwi.com platform a couple of months ago and I really like it. It allows you to search for the cheapest flights and flight combinations with all possible airlines. Even though you might not want to add an additional leg to your journey to decrease the price, it allows you to take an informed decision while comparing prices and total travel time.
Book written by Venice addicts
Even though Venice is relatively small and millions of people visit it every year, everyone has his own favourite location or story. In the book ‘First Spritz is Free: Confessions of Venice Addicts’, 34 people with different nationalities and backgrounds (such as authors, foodies, bloggers, guides) share their passion for Venice. I was also asked by Kathleen Ann Gonzalez to take part in this project. In a series of short stories, the contributors describe their personal love story with Venice and why they are addicted to the city. You can find many interesting tips in it. All proceeds will go to Venice related charity such as Save Venice Inc., Venice in Peril and Comitato Nograndinavi.
If you didn’t find the perfect gift 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.
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