Above: the central atrium of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS in Venice
It’s hard to pigeonhole T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a new retail destination in Venice. It’s certainly not your run of the mill department store, nor is it a boutique shopping experience. It’s more a combination of extraordinary architecture and cutting edge design, mixed up with a heavily curated edit of some of the world’s most desirable luxury goods, covetable Venetian souvenirs, a grocery store (more Fortnum’s than the Co-op), and a chic Philipe Starck-designed restaurant. Essentially, it has to be seen to be believed.
Right smack bang by the Rialto bridge, and bordering the Grand Canal, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is housed in an 800-year old building which was previously a market for spices, silks and other goods between the Orient and Europe. The jaw-dropping renovation was entrusted to architect Rem Koolhaas by the building’s new joint owners LVMH and DFS Group, and he’s succeeded in staying true to the long tradition of commerce and culture that lies at the heart of historic Venice, whilst creating a retail temple for the 21st century.
Above: the view over the Grand Canal from the rooftop of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
It’s worth having a prowl around the four storey building before starting to shop; it seems that around every corner and upon every ceiling is a reminder of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi’s storied past.
Then check out the new ‘From Venice With Love‘ capsule collection of over 50 covetable products, which have been commissioned to celebrate Venice and DFS’s love of travel. From the best of Italian fashion to fragrance and food, the collection features a range of international and Italian designers with standout pieces from Armani, Aquazzura, Gucci, Longines, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino.
Above: I rather fell in love with the unique Loewe elephants
Of course there is lots more to see after that – an entire shop-within-a-shop dedicated to the best of Gucci *swoons*
and delectable Bulgari Serpenti bags in colourways I haven’t seen before.
But there aren’t just luxury good concessions: they have a brilliant range of souvenirs too, from the classic straw boaters worn by the gondoliers to a Rialto bridge modelled out of chocolate, via a Venezia FC strip and a traditional Carnival mask.
I particularly liked these etched glasses:
On the ground floor there is an excellent grocery section, selling Italian wines and cheeses, along with a pasticceria, which sells all manner of sweet treats.
When you’ve finished shopping you can head back downstairs to AMO Restaurant & Cafe, under the direction of chef Massimiliano Alajmo, the youngest chef to ever achieve three Michelin stars in the world. Whether you want a quick shot of their excellent espresso to keep you going, or to eat a proper meal, it’s a fun, buzzy place to sit and people watch. Oh and the entire building has free wi-fi.
The menu borders on the extraordinary and, certainly for Italy, it has an unexpectedly wide range of very good gluten-free and vegetarian options – which do come at quite a price.
After lunch I suggest you take the escalators and then the lift up to the very top floor.
That’s because a visit to the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi would not be complete without a visit to the Rooftop Terrace which features an overwhelmingly lovely 360 view of Venice. Free of charge, the rooftop is open from 10AM to 7:15PM, and can be booked via their website here.
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS
Address: Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi, Rialto Bridge, 30124 Venice, Italy (Nearest Vaporetto Stop: Rialto)
Sasha was a guest of DFS in Venice in Spring 2017.