Vicenza must be the only Italian city where finding a souvenir shop is a struggle.
With its rich Palladian heritage, you would think the vicentini would have jumped on the tourist exploitation wagon in the style of Pisa or Venice and would be flogging plastic and plaster Palladio’s Basilicas by the bucket load.
No such luck!
The city is too refined for that and it seems to try to stay off the beaten track as much as possible. Instead it prefers to attract a rarefied crowd of art and architecture connoisseurs with fabulous exhibitions, the newly opened Museum of the Jewellery and a high concentration of palaces in its historical centre and palatial villas in its surroundings.
In line with this, I am going to introduce you to the best three (in my humble opinion!) shops in Vicenza where you can stock on fabulous and original keepsakes to give as presents or enjoy as tasty mementos from your time spent here.
The shops are all very centrally located and within a stone’s throw from the main square – Piazza dei Signori, so you can do your shopping quickly instead of wasting precious sightseeing time. If you are lucky enough to actually live in Vicenza, then these shops will provide you with a never-ending source of inspiration for fabulous birthday presents and gifts for any other occasion you can think of.
ViArt – Artigianato Artistico Vicentino
This spacious shop houses a great selection of the handiworks of local artists.
You will find handmade ceramics, jewellery, leather bags and fashion plus children’s toys and babywear, to mention but a few of the available categories of products.
I love the colourful atmosphere and the unhurried shopping experience. Plus there are so many options in terms of different crafts, sizes and price points to choose from! Always handy when picking a little something to decorate the house or give as a present to a loved one.
The most important thing is that you will be purchasing an item which has been designed and made locally. It is always so much more rewarding to support the local community and talent, as opposite to buying yet another mass produced and imported something.
ViArt, www.viart.it, Piazza delle Erbe, 13 – Vicenza
Gioielleria Soprana is an over 100 years old jewellery shop nestled in Palladio’s Basilica in Vicenza. It stocks amazing pieces that will make your eyes sparkle with desire.
If you are looking for mementos from Vicenza, my personal recommendation is to ask for the Loving Palladio jewellery line. It comprises earrings, bracelets and necklaces inspired by the works of Andrea Palladio – one of the most prominent architects of the Western world. Even though he died in 1580, such was his influence on designing buildings and architectural concepts that he is also renowned as the Father of American Architecture.
The pieces in the Loving Palladio jewellery line are made of silver and gold and come in some very stylish boxes. They are perfect as a gift for an architecture-mad person or simply to keep for oneself as a reminder of the beauty of Vicenza.
Gioielleria Soprana, www.soprana.com, Piazzetta Andrea Palladio, 2 – Vicenza
Edible gifts are always a great idea! Especially when they are so original and tasty as the products of Pasticceria Venezia in Vicenza.
So, take your pick.
A chocolate and art lover will adore the chocolate reproductions of a Van Gogh’s painting (which is currently housed in Palladio’s Basilica as part of the monumental ‘Tutankhamon, Caravaggio, Van Gogh’ exhibition).
Chocolate truffles in a chocolate box are a great present for oneself, whatever the occasion. As for the cat-shaped biscuits, they are a joking reference to an Italian saying, calling vicentini ‘cat-eaters’.
This is just a small selection of the traditional and innovative bakery and chocolate products on offer here. Always a delight to give and to receive.
Pasticceria Venezia, www.pasticceriavenezia.com, Contra Pescaria, 4 – Vicenza
Happy souvenir shopping in Vicenza! Let me know what you bought.
Disclaimer: I have not accepted any remuneration, financial or otherwise, for featuring these shops on my blog. My article is based on personal experience with all three shops. At the time of writing and publishing my article none of the shops was aware that they were being featured.