While walking in Venice (San Marco, especially), the men selling "fake" designer purses are abundant. I am amazed that they do not have to obtain some kind of license to sell on the streets. The Italians are famous for paper work and roadblocks for legitimate merchants, so I am surprised these street sellers are allowed to harass pedestrians.
One evening when we were "window shopping" we witnessed a pretty angry confrontation between a street merchant and a pedestrian that almost ended in a physical fight.
Unique Suggestions: I think the only thing one can do is to focus on the beauty of Venice; ignore the "pests"; and always walk away after firmly saying, "No thank you!"
Fun Alternatives: Be as persistent as the street merchant. Walk away.
Beware of street vendors, selling mostly bags and suitcases of the most expensive designers. Unfortunately, they are all over the city and
sometimes can be quite persistent in bothering you (especially near the Bridge of Whispers). Don’t buy anything since it’s a complete rip off.
This is a quote from the Ricksteves.com website "North African merchants in Venice are feeling the heat. Name-brand producers (like Gucci and Louis Vuitton) are tired of these guys selling knock-offs on the streets. After unsuccessfully trying to arrest these immigrant salesmen, local authorities are now considering fining any tourist who buys their fake-label wear. You'll see the vendors and their makeshift shops spread out on blankets everywhere in Venice. When the police come, they pack up and vanish. After the coast is clear, they set up again and are back in business."
I found these merchants to be really annoying, not only in Venice but other citys in Italy as well. They line up all along already congested areas (over bridges, along the Riva D. Schiavoni where the cruise ships come in, etc). They generally are in the high tourist areas, so why is it so hard for the police to "police " the areas?
Unique Suggestions: Ignore them, make no eye contact.
Dotted around venice you will see these Jamacian guys with about 5 or so bags on a blanket, they are obviously selling knock off goods/fake goods, and will get done if caught, however you TO will also get done for buying them, so my advice is stay away, and don't be tempted no matter how cheap or good they look.
I guess the reason they have only several on show is so they can pack up and run quick !
We also saw 2 policemen looking through a black binbag, and we noyiced that whikst we were watching them we have a coloured guy opposite us on the bridge, we figured it was his goods stashed in the bags and they had found it !
Unique Suggestions: Walk away, its not worth the fine
Fun Alternatives: Just don not buy its as simple as that
Many of the streets in Venice are pretty narrow. So when the fake bag sellers see or hear the police coming, they'll start running so fast, if you don't watch them, they'll knock you off your feet. Stay away from trouble!
With the help of some VT members, I would like to add that it is illegal to buy from street sellers who sell knock-off goods. In Rome, though, I did see some street vendors who had knock-offs for sale but they had carts that displayed the knock-offs and a lot of other cheap parafernalia. The police in Rome often times just looked the other way. In Venice we saw the police in all major touristy streets and campos.
They look harmless enough. The sellers I mean. You see groups of young African men in a lot of Campos (small squares) selling designer handbags, belts, etc. They say they are real, but it definitely is not a Gucci at that price. The Venetian Government has tried to stop this trade, but they are still there everyday because Tourists still buy it. If you buy it, fair enough, just know what you bought. The Government goes on about organised crime and poor people in factories in the Third World. I think they are more worried about loss of sales to large powerful companies. These young lads are always polite and do this to make a living.
Fun Alternatives: If you have lots of money, buy the real ones. If not I would suggest you buy it on the mainland where it will be cheaper!
Looking for a fake Prada? An phony Gucci? Just watch out the street vendors.
Picpoket's are came to Venice from all around Adriatic and Mediteranian.
Also you may buy there an "empty" telefone card. That hapend to me. I take my money back very loudly.
Like in many tourist areas also in Venice are some Africans trying to sell you Gucci & Prada bags and Calvin Klein belts. These are all fake and they expect you to bargain, but you will pay far to much for the poor quality.
watch out for the African Vendors selling 'Gucci' 'Fendi' and 'Prada' purses. They are not real of course, but if you are willing to spend $50-$100 Euro for a pretty good imitation then go for it. You can always get them to come down on price if you say all you have it X amount of money. It's alo funny to watch them run through the streets when the Guardia di Finanzia comes by.