Friday, December 11, 2020

Venice In Miniature: Bottega di Pre

A grouping of four different buildings and stone bridge (photographed last year)

The Bottega di Pre, located just a few yards off of Campo Santa Maria Formosa, has an array of striking hand-made objects in it, all created by its proprietor (whose name, I must admit, I've forgotten), but my personal favorite are the matchbox-sized buildings and bridges and gondolas of Venice you can see in the images above and below. Cast of solid resin and hand-painted, they have a satisfying mass to them when held in the hand, and combine two or three or more of them in a grouping and you have a 3-D Venice on your table top (or under your Christmas tree) with all of what Ruskin praised as the distinctive "Irregularity" of the actual city itself.

I last spoke to the artisan a year ago when purchasing some buildings, and have always meant to return and do a post on him and his shop. But when I stopped by recently I found that he appears to be (understandably enough, given the absence of foot traffic) keeping his shop closed during the pandemic: a sign on the shop door directs people to his online site, where you can see not just his Venetian buildings but his hot air balloons and small scale library interiors (which I think Jorge Luis Borges would have appreciated), masks, Christmas decorations, and other unique objects: 

On that site you can also inquire about purchases. I've not encountered any other hand-made objects of Venice, small-scale and affordable, that so effectively suggest something of the actual experience of the city.  


A view of the current window display in the Bottega di Pre


  1. What a wonderful miniature world to escape to! I'd seen the shop, and it's a pity if it's no longer open. The level of detail is brilliant, I was almost stuck with my nose fastened to the window! The bookshelves and desks fascinated us both.

    1. I'm sorry, Ella, to have given the impression in the post that his shop is closed for good--I'm happy that your comment alerted me to the fact that I'd suggested this. I've now edited the post and hopefully made it clear that the shop is not closed as in "out of business", but closed during the pandemic, or at least for the present. Though the sign on his door refers people to his online address, his shop (visible through the display window) is still intact and filled with fascinating objects--and looks ready to be opened tomorrow if need be. So, sorry to write about it in a misleading way, and I'm happy to think that the shop will be here and ready to receive you and any other visitors when visitors are able to start returning to the city again.

  2. What a relief! Thanks for correcting my error in how I'd read what you wrote. It was such a fascinating place, that the thought it would no longer be there really worried me. Thanks again.