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What do we think of when we think Venice? Well, gondolas, but did you know shopping can be quite a satisfying experience in Venice as well.
Whether you are looking at the wares of the street vendors at Ponte Rialto or at the boutiques, you will be soothed by the array of choices. Souvenir shops are aplenty along the Ponte Rialto but the cobbled walkway is quite a challenge for stroller and wheelchair users. In the summer and the months of festivities and carnivals which begin from December to end February, expect to shuffle with shoppers and sightseers. From Masks to Murano, Ponte Rialto is a one-stop shopping area to cater for all with tastes but little time.
For the shopper with 'serious' money to spend, head for the Mercerie, Venice's main shopping street where you will be bewitched by the glamour of Max Mara, Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and similar names. Bearing in mind Venice has always emphasized on the most current of luxury goods, you may wish to visit Calle XXII Marzo, a stone's throw away and be transported to the world of Versace, Bulgari and Bruno Magli.
Stroll along the streets between the Rialto and San Paolo to *feast" your eyes on beautiful Venetian hand-crafted items. One of the most difficult decisions you will make when in Venice is your choice of... the Venetian Mask with the numerous number of shops all over the island selling this uniquely Venetian handicraft, which has been passed down through the generations. When deciding on a mask, you may have to flip a coin or several coins as they are beautiful in their own rights.
Where better to find Murano glass objects than on the island of Murano itself? Plan a visit to the kilns on this island and be awed by the art of glass blowing "breathing" life into colors. Like the art of mask-making, glass blowing is an age-old tradition passed down through the generations.
Another must-visit is the island of Burano, the birth place of the famous Burano lace. Part of the Venetian artisan industry, lace making is believed to have dated as far back as the 16th Century. It is hard to describe the beauty of this lace except that it is most sought after by Royalty. Burano lace makers till today 'hand-make' their beautiful laces only they know how.