Best for Last: My Favorite Shop in Venice

Doing my research in the hotel bar. As you can tell I am a fan of paper and old fashioned
note taking.

At the end of my cruise to Greece, Croatia and Italy last summer, our final stop was Venice. To be honest, I was the most worried about this part of the trip – Venice isn’t easy. It is crowded, touristy, hot, not to mention impossible to get around between the gondolas and the water taxis and the small, narrow streets that aren’t really streets. Oh, and the flooding. It is A LOT. And as a reminder we had 16 people!

But there’s a reason people continue to flock to Venice despite all of the difficulties. There is simply no place like it.

I researched Venice quite a bit – we only had two full days there and I knew I wanted to be very purposeful about how I spent each day. I found Venice to be an overwhelming city to tackle and even after doing a lot of research, I know there are many places that I missed (reason to come back). We divided our time into halves – one half culture, one half shopping. The best resources for me were Yolo Journal, Indagare, and Instagram.

My cousin Liz is the best travel partner – I research the places, she gets us there. (I have no sense of direction and am terrible with maps – her nickname is Liz Logistics because she’s a whiz at this stuff).

Martinuzzi: I had been to Venice before 11 years ago and there was one shop in particular that I knew I wanted to go back to. Of course I had no name, no address – only my memory to rely on. But my memory was strong – I have a vivid recollection of going to this shop with my friends and spending hours looking at beautiful Venetian linens (tablecloths, napkins, hand towels and so many other special items).

I wanted to do that again. And what luck that our hotel was two minutes walking distance from Piazza san Marco and as soon as I walked into that square – I remembered. We walked in the store and it was exactly as I remembered from all those years ago. I bought an incredible blue linen tablecloth, handtowels with gorgeous lobster and crab stitching and a few other items that I treasure.

Who else shops here?
It’s in Piazza San Marco, so it’s not exactly hidden. But the people who actually take the time to step inside are generally in-the-know, with a more serious and genuinely curious air about them.

Condé Nast Traveler Review of Martinuzzi

Gianni Basso Stampatore: While that shop was fairly simple to find, others were more challenging. My absolute favorite shop was one that we almost gave up on and ended up being the very last stop on our last day – it was pouring rain, crowded, and very difficult to find but we persisted.

And I am so glad we did – what a special find. This shop is the reason you come to Venice – specialty items, owners who have refined their craft and learned it from generations past, who welcome you into their shop so that you can bring home a special piece of Venetian culture home.

Gianni Basso Stampatore is tucked away on a little side street (and by street I mean alley). We found it through a lot of “trial and error” (also known as getting lost). The owner Gianni Basso runs this stationary atelier and sells customized stationary, invitations and calling cards among other unique items. He has a vintage letterpress that he still uses. Everything is created by hand.

I brought home the most beautiful bookplates for my boys and me as keepsakes. Every year for their birthdays since they were born, I give my boys a book that is meaningful to me in the hopes that one day they will have their own library of books. These Venetian bookplates are now inside of each of them.

I have several other shops to share in a future newsletter but this one deserves its own post, especially for the paper and book nerds out there! What I also love is there’s no online presence – you must go to Venice to experience and purchase his treasures.

A little rain wasn’t going to stop this crew.
This is the owner, Gianni Masso – he was so kind and interesting.
We stayed in the shop forever chatting with him.
OG Stationary Atelier
His shop is very personal; filled with family photos and notes from happy and loyal customers.
An example of the bookplates similar to the ones I bought for my boys and me. Note the one for Scott Turow above – he has lots of famous customers.
The store appears to be cluttered but is in fact perfectly organized. It is a tiny little place – we had four people in the shop and it would have been impossible to fit in one or two more people.
Personalized bookmarks and notecards.
Vintage Letterpress
These would be great to buy and frame as a personalized gift.
Drawings of Venice that you could frame.
So many beautiful choices. I loved the seahorse and the jellyfish – beach girl vibes.
It took me a while to decide what I wanted. He was so patient and charming.
decisions, decisions
I hope to visit his shop again and hope that absolutely nothing about it changes.
Walking through the Piazza on the way home…a symphony playing in the rain.
Venice is incredible.
chatting with new friends from the US
Arrivederci Venice!

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