Style Files

An Insider's Guide to Venice

Things to do in Venice according to a stylish local. Designer Eleonora Mayerle of Isla Fontaine shares her favourite places to shop, stay, eat and visit in the Italian city.

Unsurprisingly, Eleonora’s favourite thing about living in Venice is the breathtaking beauty that surrounds her as she goes about her daily life. 

She loves visiting art galleries, going to the cinema and staying at home with her family, or with a good book.

I met Eleonora in Milan in September 2017. We had both been invited to showcase our spring collections at Milano Fashion Week and immediately hit it off. As business owners, designers, and mums, we quickly realised we had a lot in common. But perhaps the thing that really helped us bond was our love for Italian craftsmanship and our desire to promote it to the world.

Eleonora launched her brand, Isla Fontaine, in 2012 with a jewellery line. Isla Fontaine combines the finest Italian craftsmanship with contemporary design and sophisticated glamour. Her unique design aesthetic mixes Art Deco and Contemporary Art influences, with signature motifs such as organic lines and kaleidoscopic colours. Each piece is designed with her unique vision, while always pushing boundaries and maintaining her passion for originality.

“Made in Italy to me means extensive research, high quality craftsmanship, and timeless elegance.” - Eleonora

Her accessories are designed in her Venetian studio and are handcrafted by a team of silversmiths and stone carvers with over 35 years of experience in their craft. Her flagship store is in central Venice and a must-see if you’re passing through. I had a chat with Eleonora to get her tips on things to do, see and eat in her breathtaking hometown.


Eleonora loves La Salumeria in Via Garibaldi where they have the best baccalà mantecato in town!

Da Paolin in Santo Stefano square, is her favourite aperitivo spot, it’s a few steps away from her house and her signature drink is Prosecco with Gingerino.

The designer's favourite hotel in Venice is Hotel Flora owned by her friend Gioele. It’s intimate and perfectly located. 

Her must-see places in Venice are the Salute church from the Accademia bridge in the early morning, the Sestiere of Dorsoduro in the day, the Zattere in the evening and the Saint Mark’s square by night.


Women in Venice dress comfortably as they walk everywhere in the city. She describes their style as easy sophisticated, opting for comfort over high heels. A tailor-cut blazer with stretch jeans or leather pants and sneakers is my daytime uniform in the cold season, as well as a warm cashmere sweater.

According to Eleonora, Kirikù is the best boho chic store in Venice. At Kirikù they only sell Italian high quality brands with that certain je ne sais quoi. For shoes, she loves Mori e Bozzi. They’ve been a beacon of light for Venetian shoe lovers for decades. Its fantastic collection of high-quality, funky footwear includes brands such as Moma, Halmanera and Shoto, and treads you'll find nowhere else in the city.

How has living in Venice influenced your work? I think it mostly influenced my sense of proportions and my aesthetic.

As a designer, where do you search for inspiration? I research the latest trends online, but lately I also look at trendy women passing by my shop and my customers, of course. I observe how they put their outfits together and which jewellery and bags they wear. 

Is there a style secret or tip you’d like to share with us? Always add a small dissonant element to a perfectly balanced outfit so the result won’t be boring.

Where can we come visit you and see your work? At my brick and mortar store close to the Frari church (Sestiere San Polo 2614).

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Next time, I’ll be talking with fashion designer Marta Scarampi about her beautiful hometown: Torino.

If you haven’t read my Insider’s Guide to Rome, you can find it here.

Ciao for now,

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