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Browsing in homegrown boutiques near Venice's Grand Canal

By Shivani Vora in Venice,Italy | China Daily | Updated: 2014-06-08 07:32

When it comes to shopping, travelers to Venice tend to stick to the big-brand Italian chain stores near touristy San Marco Square, but the city's homegrown boutique scene warrants far more attention than it gets.

The Cannaregio area, for example, is filled with a diverse range of local shops along narrow alleys and in small piazzas.

Situated off the Grand Canal and a 10-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge, this is a residential enclave where middle- and upper-class families have lived for generations and to which Venetians regularly flock for retail excursions.

Browsing in homegrown boutiques near Venice's Grand Canal

Rural revelry

Orlando Donadi gallery: Orlando Donadi, 70, is a well-respected artist whose gallery beside the Ponte delle Guglie is a showcase for his eclectic paintings. They are all inspired by Venice and combine past and present, as in one of 16th-century women grooming themselves and looking out at a modern-day schoolgirl painting graffiti on a piazza. Prices from 400 euros ($535).

Fondamenta E Ponte De Cannaregio o de Le Guglie 1294; 39-339-184-0145.

Spezieria All'Ercole D'Oro: Housed in a former pharmacy dating to the 1600s, this year-old perfumery sells over 50 scents inspired by 16th-century recipes, like the Byzantium Saffron, a blend of saffron, amber and patchouli. Each is beautifully packaged in a different bottle, like red-striped Murano glass with gold tassels; from 3 euros.

Strada Nova, Cannaregio 2233; 39-041-720-600.

Giovanna Zanella: It's easy to walk by this tiny shoe atelier without giving it a second look, but those who do are greeted by the namesake designer in the midst of making one of her eye-catching pieces for both men and women. No two pairs are alike, and the selection always changes, but bright blue loafers made of eel skin and red heels with eyelashes painted on the toes are recent examples of her playful work; from 600 euros.

Castello San Lio, Calle Carminati 5641; 39-041-523-5500;

Roberta Di Camerino: The granddaughter of the namesake handbag designer, who died in 2006, now runs the spacious showroom tucked behind a gated courtyard. The aesthetic is more classic than fashion-forward. Pieces include simple leather and velvet totes in an array of shades and her signature bagonghi, a bag in the shape of a baguette. Prices from 70 euros.

L'atelier di Palazzo Loredan Grifalconi, Cannaregio 6359; 39-041-241-0440;

Pasticcerie Nobile: Established in 1902, this long and narrow pastry shop is popular with locals who stop in to buy delicious Venetian desserts baked daily in the back kitchens. The tempting choices include zaleti, a cookie made from maize flour in flavors like pistachio and chocolate, and fugassa, a large and round airy spongecake topped with powdered sugar. Prices from 50 cents.

Cannaregio 1818, 39-041-720-731;

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