A piece of a place: Souvenirs and gifts from Italy

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Posted On August 08, 2014 / Posted In Gift Guides / Tagged gift guides, travel souvenirs, Italy

Text and images by Sarita Rajiv

Do you have a travel ritual; something you always do when you’re exploring a new place? One of my friends, a foodie, makes it a point to try out exotic local cuisine whenever she travels. I’ve heard of an Indian couple that like to replicate Bollywood movie songs filmed in the places they’re visiting. So they take pictures of themselves posing and dressed like the actors in the song. Think a lady in a sari with the pyramids of Egypt in the background! 

My travel ritual is fairly simple in comparison. I like to take back a piece of the place I’m visiting. These could be little souvenirs and gifts for family and friends or a take-away memory of that place for my home. And today I’m dipping into my travel files to share some Italian goodness with you. I’m talking souvenirs and gifts from Venice and Florence. I got so carried away discovering and photographing all the fantastic Italian products you could take back from Italy that I have to split this Italian gift guide into two parts to do justice to these gift and souvenir ideas. 

So here’s part one of Italian gift guide with souvenirs from Venice and Florence for you.

As part of your Italy shopping, get this Italian book for children from Venice

Italian story books: One of the highlights of our Venice trip was visiting the quirky Alta Aqua book store. Listed as one of the must-visit book stores in the world, Libreria Aqua Alta in Venice literally translates to ‘High Water Library’. A befitting name, set as it is on the canal and housing a gondola full of books, posters and post cards among other quirky paraphernalia! Luigi, the owner of the bookstore helped us pick out a book called ‘Tobia the gondolier’ which is part of a series on Venetian craftsmen. What a fun way for my daughter to remember her trip to Venice and the experience of being in a gondola.  

Souvenirs from Italy...story books for children

Venetian masquerade masks: Walking down the streets of Venice, it was hard to miss all the stalls selling Venetian masquerade masks. The masks were vibrant, shiny and elaborately decorated and, just what kids are attracted to as we discovered thanks to my daughter.  After trying out several we settled on a relatively simple one that covered just the eyes. These are fun souvenirs to take back from Italy…especially for kids who love dressing up in costumes of all kinds. And as we discovered from people-watching at the airport, it seemed like it isn’t just kids who love these Venetian masks…they are a hit with adults too.    

Things to do in Venice: Get these venetian masks if you are shopping in Italy.

Venetian jewellery box: If masks are not quite your thing, you could try the jewellery boxes. We spotted them in several stores across Venice. They’re made of clay and in the shape of the Venetian face masks. Small and dainty, they’re perfect as gifts for the women in your life. 

Buy Italian products from Murano, Italy. Perfect as Italian souvenirs and gifts.

Murano art glass: I’m not a big fan of art glass, even so it was quite an experience to see some of the gorgeous art glass made in the island of Murano. And when I chanced upon this gorgeous glass balloon made by Livio de Marchi, the famed Italian artist, I was sold. Did I mention Murano glass art is incredibly, extraordinarily expensive? It’s not quite a travel souvenir, but then I just wouldn’t be doing justice to my Italian gift guide if I left this beauty out! 

Tips for Italian shopping. Get genuine Murano glass art from Venice.

While shops in Venice sell Murano glass jewellery and artefacts, the best way to ensure that the Murano art glass you are buying is authentic is to buy it from Murano, a short ride away from Venice on the vaporetto. 

Visiting Murano, Italy? Check out these Italian products.

I’ll leave you with these gorgeous glass balloons for now. I'm hoping you got some good souvenir and gift ideas for your next Italy trip. Look out for part two of my Italian gift guide. Psst, I’ll give you a hint...think wood and lace. Got  you curious, didn’t I?

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Sarita Rajiv is a writer, gifting specialist and founder of The Orange Gift Bag. She’s on a mission to uncover the ‘best gifts after love’. When she isn’t dreaming up unique gift ideas, she writes for The Copenhagen Post and The National Geographic Traveller India among others.

You can follow Sarita Rajiv on Twitter, Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.


12/08/2014 at 09:57

Crushing on those glass balloons right now!


The orange gift bag

12/08/2014 at 11:34

They are gorgeous aren't they...like a burst of colour!

Amanda Collins

12/08/2014 at 09:52

Your idea of takeaway memories is so cool Sarita! Love all the gifts in this guide...now all I need is to make a trip to Italy:-)


The orange gift bag

12/08/2014 at 11:36

Thanks Amanda. Good luck on planning that Italy trip. And while you're in Europe, I'd recommend a couple of days in Copenhagen as well:-)

Carla Johansen

11/08/2014 at 08:28

I'm travelling to Italy this week and this gift guide is so timely. Will definitely be getting some Murano glass back home with me!


The orange gift bag

11/08/2014 at 08:36

It's great you found this guide useful Carla. Hope you have a fantastic time in Italy and find some gorgeous Murano glass for your home.