Venice, in addition to being a city of art, has always been a city of artisan excellence and creative talent. For more than 1,000 years the hands of masterful Venetian craftsmen have been creating precious and refined objects: mosaics, glassware, fabrics, jewellery and perfumes. Even today, Venice is brimming with ancient know-how that cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Innovative boutiques and concept stores are flanked by artisan studios, where masterpieces in glassware, pearl, gold, paper, and leather are created; there are even ateliers of historic masks and costumes, artistic kilns, antique tailoring and weaving workshops, woodworking shops and printing studios, graphic design studios where unique products can be found.
This tour will give you the chance to visit some of them in hidden areas of the city. While walking off the beaten paths, you will find historic workshops, creative designers, and sophisticated boutiques standing amidst art galleries, antique shops, and luxury bazaars that sell original accessories for interior decor, wood or ceramics ateliers, as well as historic cafés and pastry shops, gourmet kiosks and delicatessens, herb and spice emporiums, splendid florists and greenhouses.
- Campo San Giacomo: We will start our tour in the very center of Venice, in front of a church, traditionally considered to be the oldest in town.
- Rialto fish market: The marketplace in Venice is Rialto: its fish market is noisy, raw, authentic and full of true venetian life. Fish is artfully arranged on stalls covered with deep layers of crushed ice, seagulls wander among the fishmongers calling out today's catch, local people purposefully browse the stalls scattered in the two halls of the "Pescheria'', as generations of venetians have been doing so in the last 800 years!
- Ceramic shop: We will visit a local artisan who creates traditional rural products, using typical materials and manufacturing techniques which nowadays have been lost in the industrial production. These products are linked to values and traditions such as spending time with family and friends around the table, preparing and celebrating food, drink and events at home. These ceramics are made in Italy with bright colours, lively patterns and quality materials; hand crafted in a time honoured fashion to create a rustic, warm, refined, elegant and yet informal atmosphere.
- Shoe shop: The next stop will be in a traditional shoe shop. The necessity and ability to exploit everything available, born from the deep bond between man and nature, blended with the wise and already advanced culture of recycling, which today speaks to a world which is under fire from huge ecological issues. The old bicycle tyres were used as waterproof and hard wearing soles; the canvases of jute sacks, from the transport of seeds and grains, were transformed into excellent linings; the fabrics, even rags from old clothes, were transformed into the uppers. Thus necessity became a virtue. These shoes are made in the true manner, there are now new generations of shoe-slippers, like the "Veneziane", inspired by the eighteenth-century splendour of the Serenissima republic, embellished with velvet or bright oriental silks, all guaranteed hand-sewn. All of this exploiting a craftsmanship which is handed down over generations, and which is already looking to the future.
- Hats shop; Giuliana is a local stylist and her tiny shop is brimming with hats: Panama hats, gondolier's hats, hats for the carnevale, waterproof hats, woolly hats and even wedding hats! Since 1980 Giuliana has imported her Panama hats directly from Ecuador. The shop is officially recognized as a historic place of the Veneto Region.
- A maestro marmorizzatore: We will meet a "maestro marmorizzatore", a master papermaker. Maestro means in Italian an expert, also a teacher, but it is also a word Venetians use in their dialect when greeting an elderly person in a respectful way (buon giorno maestro!). This maestro is specialized in ancient paper techniques which lives again in this production in Venice. This magic city, suspended between sky and water, cross-road of different cultures, northern gateway of the Orient, has been the inspired muse of this shop. The water of the Lagoon takes on, during the different times of the day, shades of colors, that only these technique are able to reproduce. Some of these remarkable works are fascinating sheets of paper with the theme of flowers (tulips, roses and trees). Absolutely original is the series of fish that smile: captured in the liquid element, they are petrified on paper as if they were fossils embedded in primordial seas.
- Art atelier; In the heart of Venice, between Rialto Bridge and St. Marco square, in their precious and cozy atelier, since 2007 a couple of artists encourage with their creations the intimate relationship between the object and the viewer. We will admire rare collections of original sculptures and jewelry, a world made of delicate glass flowers, dreamlike shapes of cut iron, reborn trees from wood, nomadic landscapes, and sights from the abyss.
- Glass jewelry; We will visit a shop producing jewellery in Murano glass, executed entirely by hand using the most refined techniques of the venetian tradition. All the beads we will see are hand made by little local workshops with several years’ proven experience in Murano glass making, glass blowing and lamp-working techniques.
- Silk atelier; We will visit a textile company producing fine fabrics for furnishing and hgh fashion: velvets, damasks, lampasas, brocatelles and the special "soprarizzo" velvet, which is still hand made. All fabrics are here created with ancient techniques and skills: "soprarizzo" production is for instance still carried out by and on 18 looms of the 18th century, which previously belonged to the silk guild of the Republic of Venice.
- Design and creation of the tour
- Authorized Guide service
- Nature and interpretive guide & tour leader