Vintage shopping is sometimes the best way to explore a city like Venice. You’ll meet all sorts of interesting characters, from fashion-forward shopkeepers to local grandmothers. You’ll browse through the history of the city through all the minutiae and pieces of clothing that have been left behind and perhaps even find something perfect for you.
This little shop is run by Aldo, a charming bespectacled Venetian. Step in for a few moments and you’ll soon find yourself in a winding conversation about everything from Catholicism to architecture. “Strasse” in the Venetian dialect means “rags,” but you certainly won’t find any rags here. The clothing is always good quality and with a smattering of brand names for decent prices. He’s also got a great collection of old cameras, machines and records.
This is a well-curated boutique, focused on Italian vintage fashions. You can find really great pieces like embroidered cowboy boots and denim jackets from the 70s. They’ve also got a large collection of vintage swimsuits so you can swim out on the Lido in style.
Mercatino San Martino
This thrift shop is located in the side of the San Martino church and you won’t find it any guidebooks or maps. It’s run by a group of local grandmothers. The store features big piles of cast-away clothing and shoes that cost next to nothing. If you really dig, you’ll find a few choice gems. Even better is when the ladies start to play stylist, bringing out shiny ruffled blazers in extravagant 70s styles.
Mercatino San Giovanni e Paolo
This is another church-basement shop, but this time it’s located on the side of San Giovanni e Paolo. This mercatino is more focused on antiques and bric-a-bracs. You’ll find charming 1950s egg beaters, etchings of Venice from the turn of the century, and strange pieces of Murano glass jewelry. Don’t miss the hidden gem – silk scarves hand-printed using the same processes as for marbled paper.
Campo San Maurizio
The most plentiful antiques market in Venice is held at Campo San Maurizio, and you’ll find everything there from Murano chandeliers to antique books, to old postcards and vintage shoes. Their site will give you a sense of the schedule. Flea markets can pop up in Venice like mushrooms when the weather permits, so to get advance notice of where they’ll be you can follow this Facebook page, although it might be an incomplete listing. Ultimately, you’ll never know until you take a walk outside what you’ll find in Venice. Campo San Maurizio, Corte dei Miracoli, Campo Santa Margherita, Campo dei Frari and Riva degli Schiavoni towards the Giardini di Biennale are all places where markets appear.
L’armadio di Coco
Located next to the Miracoli church, this vintage shop is slightly more upscale. It’s not only full of great brand-name finds, but also pieces by young up-and-coming designers and recycled fashions. The owner comes from a fashion design background, so she brings her unique eye to the curation.
La Maison de la Sireneuse
This eclectic shop is full of humor and loveliness, decked out in all kinds of underwater fittings to look like a mermaid’s bazaar. With items like 70s era lamps that look like disco hydrangeas to silvery jewelry inspired by the sea, it’s definitely worth a visit.
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