Planning a trip to dreamy Venice? Just dreaming of being there one day? Or you've already been there and would like to leaf through your beautiful memories? These wonderful travel guides by Laura Morelli will be of great help and I'm really glad to give you the chance to know more about them and even win them in the giveaway you'll find right below this post. Good luck and happy dreams, everyone!

Traditional Arts of Venice

( guest post by Laura Morelli

By its very nature, Venice is a walking city. Devoid of automobiles and bikes, Venice requires your feet—and occasionally a boat—to get where you want to go. The city is replete with opportunities to window-shop, to pause and chat with a shop owner, to linger over unexpected treasures and finds among the maze-like streets and squares in which you will find yourself inevitably lost.
When I stroll along the alleys and quaysides, my mind flashes with images of what Venice must have been like some five hundred years ago: a city-as-artisanal-factory, its doors open to the streets, its wares spilling out onto the cobblestones. It is easy to conjure the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer and aroma of hot coals from the forge; to envision glassblowers twisting molten shapes at the end of their blowpipes; to imagine woodworkers, painters, and gilders sweeping sawdust flecked with red pigments and gold out into the alleys from the thresholds of their doors. That’s because, in spite of cycles of decline and renewal in its artisanal enterprises over the past three hundred years, Venice maintains its place as a world capital of the handmade, the beautiful, the richly colored, the impossibly ornate.

In fact, cobblers, glassblowers, goldsmiths, woodworkers, painters, and makers of everything from paper to marble sculpture have been the lifeblood of this city since its founding in the swampy lagoon during the early Middle Ages. Over time, certain artistic traditions such as carnival masks, Murano glass, and gondolas rose to world-class status, synonymous with Venice itself. These artistic traditions first lured me to Venice as a student, and they have kept me coming back for nearly four decades. It’s impossible not to want to take a little piece of Venice home in your suitcase. In our world of mass production, many of us yearn for unique, culturally authentic and immersive experiences. I can think of no better way to appreciate Venetian culture than by experiencing first-hand the stories, the people, and the beautiful objects behind the centuries-old traditions of this captivating city.

Laura Morelli
Authentic Arts: Venice Travel Guide

Every traveller to Venice wants to go home with a special souvenir--a carnival mask, a piece of Murano glass, a handcrafted piece of lace. But selecting which mask or which goblet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you're buying something authentic, something made in Venice, something made in a traditional way? How do you gauge how much you should pay, and how do you know if you're being ripped off? How do you determine if you have fallen prey to one of the city's many tourist traps?

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of the city's most traditional arts: Murano glass, carnival masks, gondolas, lace, paper, and more. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on pricing, quality, and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of Venice.

Artisans of Venice is the companion to Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More. Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveller in Venice!

Artisans of Venice: Companion to the Travel Guide

Going to Venice? Don't buy anything in Venice until you read this book!

Buyer Beware: Venice is full of tourist traps and mass-produced souvenirs passed off as authentic. Do you know how to tell the treasures from the trash?

In Venice, it's not easy to tell the treasures from the trash. This is true now more than ever before, as increasing numbers of carnival masks, glass, and other souvenirs flood into Venice, imported from overseas and passed off as authentic. There is no substitute for an educated buyer. Laura Morelli helps you locate the city's most authentic artisans--those practicing centuries-old trades of mask making, glass blowing, wood turning, silk spinning, and other traditions. Wouldn't you rather support authentic Venetian master artisans than importers looking to turn a quick profit without any connection to Venice at all?

Venice boasts some of the most accomplished master artisans in the world. Here's how you can find them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won't find in any other guidebook. Artisans of Venice brings you inside the workshops of the most accomplished makers of Venetian fabrics, Murano glass and millefiori, carnival masks and masquerade costumes, gondolas, Burano lace, mirrors, marbleized paper, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. This book leads you to the multi-generational studios of some 75 authentic master artisans. If you're reading on your Kindle device, tablet, or smartphone, you can click directly on their street addresses for an interactive map, and link to their web sites and email addresses directly from the guide. A cross-referenced resource guide also offers listings by neighborhood.

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Venice's most traditional arts. Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer--maybe even a connoisseur--of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Bring Laura Morelli's guides to Venice with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the best of Venice in your suitcase.

Author's Bio

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Connect with Laura: Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  about.me

Amazon: Artisans of Venice

Tour Schedule for Authentic Arts: VENICE Travel Guide


The author is giving away a set of these books along with two authentic Carnival masks (one male Bauta style and one female Colombina style).  

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About the masks

The baùta or baùtta

The baùta is the quintessential Venetian mask, worn historically not only at Carnival time but any time a Venetian citizen wished to remain anonymous, such as when he may have been involved in important law-making or political processes in the city. 

The simplest of the traditional Venetian mask types, the baùta is a stark faceplate traditionally paired with a full-length black or red hooded cloak called a tabàro (or tabàrro), and a tricorn hat, as depicted in paintings and prints by the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi. Most baùte were made of waxed papier-mâché and covered most of the face. The most prominent feature is a distinctive aquiline nose and no mouth. The lower part of the mask protruded outward to allow the mask wearer to breathe, talk, and eat while remaining disguised.


In the Commedia dell’Arte, Colombina played the role of maidservant. The Colombina is a half-mask that covers the forehead down to the cheeks, but leaves the mouth revealed. 

Originally, it would have been held up to the face by a baton in the hand. The Colombina is often decorated with more feminine flourishes, from gilding to gems and feathers, but both men and women may wear it.


Unknown said...

I look forward to riding on a gondola when I go to Italy next year.

bn100 said...

the sights

Linda said...

I have not been fortunate enough to actually visit Venice, only through reading, mostly historical fiction novels. My son and his wife were in Venice a year ago, and shared their experiences and pictures. Would love to dream my way through the travel guide. Thanks for the giveaway.