Neapolitans have a few things in common: a love for the water, great dining and shopping, and weather that’s pretty close to perfect several months out of the year. I recently spent a day at The Village Shops on Venetian Bay, a true gem in Naples that combines all those things! It’s situated right on the water, which means no matter where you are, you’re likely to have a great waterfront view—even from within several of the shops. (Where else can you get that in Naples?!)
My main mission during this visit: holiday shopping! My first stop was at The Rendez-Vous French Café, an adorable coffee shop owned by a French couple who makes amazing, authentic crepes to order. The courtyard seating was decked out with holiday decor, which put me right in the mood to knock out all my gift shopping.
The Village Shops on Venetian Bay goes all out for the holidays, with several family-friendly events throughout the season, including snow shows, caroling and photos with Santa. Best of all, they’re all free! (Details on what’s coming up this season are later in this post.)
Next stop: the Robert of Philadelphia salon for a hair boost! Nothing like a fresh blowout to keep you motivated. The space is gorgeous, and everyone is so friendly. Robert of Philadelphia has its own line of styling products, which smell amazing and—best of all—don’t leave your hair feeling sticky or heavy (a must for those with fine hair like me!)
The b. store is one of my favorite boutiques at The Village Shops. The pieces are colorful, fun and affordable—everything is under $200—and I love how they easily go from dinner on the beach to the office. (Versatility is a must for me!) Plus, there’s always something new, because they get around 200 new items in every week directly from the LA apparel markets.
Next stop: A Horse of a Different Color. If you’re in a pinch, you could probably knock out all your holiday gift shopping in this one spot. They’ve got everything from tabletop items to wooden games and puzzles to artwork and kitchenware. It feels a bit like a treasure hunt, which I love!
Time for lunch! I always rave about MiraMare, and I’m shocked that some people I talk to have never been there. (Confession: It might be my No. 1 favorite Italian restaurant in town.) There’s nothing more quintessentially “Naples” than hanging out under the cheery yellow umbrellas on the patio and watching the boats go by.
Of course, I have some recommendations. You can’t beat their two-course daily lunch special for $12.95—it’s one of the best dining deals in Naples. If you’re a fan of calamari, you must try it here. Other favorites: the insalata tricolore (radicchio, endive and arugula in a lemon dressing), chicken Milanese and lobster ravioli. (YUM.) And for dessert, the limoncello flute (lemon gelato swirled with limoncello liqueur, served in a champagne flute) is both pretty and refreshing.
Does anyone else go gift shopping and end up buying gifts for themselves, too? I couldn’t help but pick up a couple S’well Bottles at Lux Boutique. (These magical things keep your drink cold for 24 hours or hot for 12, and Lux has the best selection of colors I’ve seen.) There are lots of great gifts for her here, from accessories to clothing (including Naples’ only in-store Hale Bob boutique) and other fun stocking stuffers.
Speaking of stocking stuffers: I fell in love with these leather tassel fobs at Diane’s Fine Fashions. They come in a ton of colors and are just $15, and they’re easy to clip onto a purse to give it a fresh look or to keep your keys from getting lost in the depths of said purse.
Time for one of my favorite things: happy hour! Heading to Fish was an easy decision because they have great happy hour specials, and they’re Naples’ only waterfront wine bar. You can get wine flights and tapas starting at $8, and half-priced sushi every day from 3-6 p.m. Cheers!
→ Upcoming special events at The Village Shops on Venetian Bay (and they’re all free!):
Holiday on the Bay
Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, 17 | 5-8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 24 | 2-5 p.m.
Enjoy a festive snow show and take delight in holiday entertainment including complimentary photos with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus, holiday carolers and dance group performances. Snow show starts at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. on Dec. 24).
Tuesday, Dec. 13 | 5-8 p.m.
Join us for a Village tradition as we watch the twinkling procession of boats making their way down Venetian Bay. Enjoy a snow show, face painting, balloon art, holiday carolers, stories with Mrs. Claus and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Boat parade starts at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 15 | 5-7 p.m.
Bring out the pups to take holiday photos with Santa and meet adorable, adoptable pets. Ten percent of sales from Dec. 15-18 will be donated to The Humane Society Naples.
The Village Shops on Venetian Bay
4200 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples | venetianvillage.com
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Thanks to The Village Shops on Venetian Bay for sponsoring this post.