If you’re on the hunt for the best tattoo shops in Venice, Italy, then we can only guess that you’re chasing a new bit of ink in the famed City of Canals. We can think of few better places to do it! This town has been a leader in European art and artistry for over 500 years. Everything from operas to world-changing theatre has found its home here, and the town was the birthplace of the great Canaletto, the revered Giovanni Bellini, the mighty Titian – the list goes on.
What we’re getting at is that Venice can claim a cultural heritage unlike any other town on the planet. Ever since the heyday of the Renaissance, it’s been seen as one of the leading lights of human achievement in painting and sculpture, architecture and music. Fast forward to today and that vein of creativity carries over into the tattoo studios that make their home between the snaking canals and arched medieval bridges.
Yep, there are hundreds of places to head to get that new body tat in the capital of the Veneto region. This guide to the five best tattoo shops in Venice, Italy, can help you sort the proverbial chaff from the grain, by outlining what we think are the overall best options. Our criteria? Great reviews, good locations, and a portfolio to catch the eye. Let’s get started…
Wedged into the maze-like heart of the city on a small piazza down the alley of C. de la Fenice, UnderSkin has a prime location for drop-in tattoo goers who are hopping between the mainstay sights of Venice – St Mark’s, Campo Santo Stefano, the Grand Canal. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sort of place, tucked onto the ground floor of a building that’s hidden away from the stream of passers-by.
Enter and you’ll be greeted by a bright and breezy studio space that has tattoo chairs and piercing stations dotted across a white-tiled surface. There are hints to the penchant for experimental and worldly art adorning the walls: A piece of Japanese Pop Art here; a moody Caravaggio chiaroscuro there. Also notice the aged walls of the building poking through – you’re getting inked right in the thick of Venice’s medieval heart here, and the structures are very old!
With an in-house team of three tattooists on hand, the team here can cover a whole range of different artistic styles. Piero Salvatore is known for his lifelike realism renditions of animals and portraiture, along with his history of high-quality oriental tattoos. Marco Tupone does more traditional-style tattoos, with a particular interest in Japanese and Rockabilly come sailor works.
On top of all that, these guys have a good array of piercings on the menu. Come by to get classic nose and eyebrows, or for something a little more off-beat, like a bar through the tongue or a symmetrical piercing pushing through the cheeks.
Giovanna Zorn GioTattoo
Run by a welcoming local artist, Giovanna Zorn herself, the Giovanna Zorn GioTattoo parlor is located on the northern side of the Venice downtown. Look for it between the narrow blocks that filter off the Rio del Gesulti, one of the most charming side canals in the whole city if you ask us. A relatively small studio with an unassuming entrance, it combines with a jewelry store and craft shop where you can buy piercing balls, oriental tees, and day of the dead masks.
Versatility is the keyword here. Giovanna is capable of turning her hand to a whole host of different styles. Perhaps most notably, she’s been lauded for her ability to perfect small souvenir tattoos at short demand. A great number of past customers note how easy it was to simply stroll into the joint and get tattooed that very same day, no appointment required. They also note the ease with which the in-house team helped them realize their design and get it rolling with even the roughest of briefs.
It’s also possible to get piercings at the Giovanna Zorn GioTattoo studio. The team can do a whole bunch of different types, from single-point dermal piercings to classic bar piercings. They can also offer specialty piercings on the tongue, bellybutton, and lips. Once you’re done, head two blocks up to Calle del Fumo, where a clutch of lovely roadside cafes and bakeries spill onto the cobbles of old Venice.
A trip to the Tattoo Consortium takes us out of the old heart of Venice and over the S11 to the new area of Venice Mestre. That’s actually back on the mainland of Italy and is a whole world away from the 500-year-old chapels and churches and palazzos. Here, the streets are wide and modern, while the squares bustle with a bit more local life – Mestre is generally well off the usual tourist trail.
If you’re thinking that should add up to mean a few fantastic tattoo parlors, then you’d be right. Cue Tattoo Consortium, a joint that’s made its name by offering solid artistry to the local folks of Venice for some years. It’s located on the northern side of Mestre old town, just over the river, some 25 minutes’ walking from the train station where you’ll arrive after leaving the main City of Canals.
Drawing on noir and hipster design trends, the space is blanketed in Victorian patterned paper and comes with a dark-wood reception desk lit by a dangling chandelier. That leads through to the main tattoo enclosure, where the bulk of the work is on large-scale back and sleeve pieces. The art is often intricate, can be photorealistic, but also heavy on symbolism and motifs. The upshot? We’d recommend making the trek here if you’re planning a more complex sort of tattoo on a bigger scale.
Loose Doggs Tattoo Studio
Sticking to the new town of Venice over in Mestre, the Loose Doggs Tattoo Studio sits a little closer to the train station that moves travelers back and forth to the old town of the city. That means it’s probably a touch easier to get to if you’re staying – as more visitors here do – in the historic core of town. Just hop off the locomotive and walk three blocks to the north down the busy Corso del Popolo. You should see Loose Doggs on one of the right-hand corners there.
Slowly but steadily making a name for itself as a solid option for tattooing in a variety of styles, the spot is run by Kaya, a local artist with good experience in everything from blackwork tattooing to calligraphy.
The space is small but clean and minimalist, with brushed-glass exteriors that bear the logo. Inside, there’s just enough space for one customer at a time, but there are regular walk-in sessions penciled into the calendar so don’t despair if you haven’t booked. Naturally, it’s dog friendly, usually with a bowl of water and food ready for those four-legged friends waiting outside.
INKAE TATTOO is currently one of the highest-rated tattoo parlors in the city. It’s garnered nearly 100 full five-star accreditations on Google and a whole host of plaudits on other outlets besides. Like Giovanna Zorn GioTattoo before it, it sits on the north side of the town, near to the hip canal walks of Calle del Fumo and the Rio ca Dolce. Look for it between rows of old-school cafés and boutique B&Bs – it’s fast becoming one of the hottest areas of town, in fact!
In-house specialties are varied and mixed. The artists working at INKAE TATTOO can create large-scale sleeve and back pieces inspired by eastern mysticism one day and then switch to casual humor and cartoon tats the next. They do a lot of calligraphy work in both Italian and other languages, along with plenty of small-scale tattooing with the tourist crowd of the city.
On top of new tattoos, the folk here are known for their skills in touch ups and cover ups. They can breathe life into old or faded creations, or completely rework smaller tattoos by enmeshing them in larger designs. The studio itself is bijou and boutique, with barbershop vibes and vintage furniture throughout.
The best tattoo shops in Venice, Italy – our conclusion
This list focuses in on just five of the best tattoo shops in Venice, Italy. We’ve highlighted them mainly on account of their abundance of good reviews, but also due to their central locations near the main sights and hotel districts, and their unique offering of different sorts of body art, from oriental motifs to stripped-down line tattooing. Of course, there are many, many more options for would-be customers to the tattoo joints of the City of Canals. Plus, we 100% recommend doing your own research into any parlor you choose, to check that the style and the setting are the right one for your.