When Venice Lives: It Looks Like This–Tabarro San Marco

I have a new series for you!

In order to promote sustainable tourism and the artisans and people who make Venice unique, I am interviewing many of the people who practice traditional crafts. I will build on the work of Monica Cesarato and Sofa Tours’ Live in Venice Week videos to preserve the ideas and present them to a larger audience. The interviews will be shared here and will also be part of an initiative by the Guild of St George (UK) to promote sustainable tourism in the city. To honor the interviewees’ language, I will often present their responses in both Italian and English.

My inaugural interview is with Monica Daniele, proprietor of Tabarro San Marco, a shop in San Polo where Monica sells her hats and traditional Venetian capes known as tabarri (with a modern influence). The tabarro has been worn by Venetians for centuries and is often seen as part of the bauta, the combination of cloak, mantle, mask, and hat to hide one’s identity during Carnevale. Here you can read what Monica had to say, and you can also view her original Live in Venice Week interview here.

(Special thanks to Luisella Romeo for translation help.)

Monica Daniele at her shop, Tabarro San Marco

Background Questions:

  • Where were you born, where is your home, who is in your family?
  • I was born in Venice and lived with a Venetian family. I live in a historic building, next to the church of San Simeone Piccolo, the church with the large dome in front of the train station.
  • What is your education, training, or experience related to your work?
  • I studied in Venice, with an artistic focus. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, a student of several Venetian artists, including Lucio Andrich, Saverio Rampin, Enzo Marcato, and Emilio Vedova. I chose to work independently to have more professional freedom and travel freedom.
  • What is your work? What do you create? How long you have been doing this.
  • I created a Venetian brand in 1984. I make hats and cloaks (the Venetian tabarro) for now, but I hope to evolve to make clothing too.
Atop the wardrobe is a portrait of Monica that she had painted last year by a Buranese painter. Can you see the likeness?

When Venice lives most fully as itself, what does it look like?

Venice, which lives by itself, now emptied of its original population, is a city to be repopulated to restore its vitality.

How do you or your work bring life to Venice? What gift do you bring?

My work communicates culture and social life to the people who are happy to enjoy it, a service to beauty and to the person, which is not only aimed at tourists but at everyone, Venetians and non-Venetians alike.

How does your work preserve Venice’s culture or history?

In a simple, natural, and everyday way, my shop is a harbor where people from various social conditions, by origin, by age, by interests, can hold discussions, comparisons of ideas, and experiences. Our work, what we offer, is also a result of these exchanges, and what we propose is a result of these meetings.

What are one or two aspects of Venice’s culture that are your favorites?

The universality (or internationality) and humanity of Venice that make it still and always a crossroads of the world, a world square.

Which Venetians (living now or in the past) inspire you?

The list is long, endless, because every Venetian has contributed with their silent but precious experience to create this city. Certainly a point of reference is Giacomo Casanova, the great modern philosopher, who mentions our workshop in his autobiography.

What is your favorite place in Venice to be alone? To share with others? That no one should miss?

Any corner of Venice is suggestive, and all of Venice is extraordinary!

If you could ask visitors to Venice to do one or two things to be better visitors, what would you ask for?

I ask people to be aware that everything is fragile because it is ancient, to be aware of this and to walk on tiptoe, therefore not to leave garbage out of place; thus the footprint will be lighter; to visit the monuments the path is long and requires religious respect.

Hats and cloaks and mannequins–so much to see!

Quando Venezia Vive: Sembra CosìDescrizione del progetto:


Dove é nato, dov’è la sua casa, chi è nella sua famiglia?

Sono  nata e vivo a Venezia di  famiglia veneziana; vivo in un palazzo storico, a fianco della chiesa di San Simon Piccolo, la chiesa con la grande cupola davanti alla stazione di Santa Lucia.

La sua istruzione, formazione o esperienza relativa al suo lavoro.

Ho studiato a Venezia, con indirizzo artistico. Sono diplomata all’Accademia di belle arti, allieva di diversi artisti veneziani, tra i quali ricordo  Lucio Andrich, Saverio Rampin, Enzo Marcato ed Emilio  Vedova. Ho scelto di lavorare autonomamente per avere maggiore libertà professionale e di spostamenti.

Qual è il suo lavoro? Cosa crea? Da quanto tempo lo fa?

Ho creato un brand veneziano nel 1984, realizzo cappelli e tabarri (venetian mantle-cloak) per ora, ma spero di evolvere anche nell’abbigliamento.

Hats piled everywhere, but Monica can easily find your size and style.
A traditional Venetian tabarro (cloak) worn by Monica’s friend Albert.

Quando Venezia vive pienamente come se stessa, che aspetto ha?

Venezia che vive in se stessa, ora svuotata  dalla sua popolazione autoctona, è una città da ripopolare per ridarle vitalità.

In che modo Lei o il suo lavoro portate la vita a Venezia? Che regalo porta?

Il mio lavoro comunica cultura e socialità alle persone che possono o vogliono usufruirne, un servizio alla bellezza e alla persona, che non si rivolge solo al turista, ma a tutti, veneziani e non.

In che modo il suo lavoro preserva la cultura o la storia di Venezia?

In modo semplice, naturale e quotidiano. Il mio negozio è un porto di persone variegate per condizioni sociali, per provenienza, per età, per interessi da cui nascono discussioni, confronti di idee ed esperienze. Il nostro lavoro, quello che offriamo è anche il frutto di questi scambi e la che proponiamo è frutto di questi incontri.

Quali sono uno o due aspetti della cultura di Venezia che preferisce?

L’universalità (o internazionalità) e umanità di Venezia che la rendono ancora e sempre un crocevia del mondo, una piazza mondiale 

A quali veneziani (viventi ora o nel passato) si ispiri?

La lista è lunga, interminabile, perché ogni veneziano ha contribuito con la sua silenziosa ma preziosa esperienza a creare questa città. Sicuramente un punto di riferimento è Giacomo Casanova, grande filosofo moderno, che cita la nostra bottega nella sua biografia.

Qual è il suo posto preferito a Venezia per stare da solo? Da condividere con gli altri? Che nessuno dovrebbe mancare?

Qualsiasi angolo di Venezia è suggestivo, tutta Venezia è straordinaria!

Se potessi chiedere ai visitatori di Venezia di fare una o due cose per essere visitatori migliori, cosa chiederesti?

Chiedo di essere consapevoli che tutto è fragile perché antico, di averne consapevolezza di questo e di  camminare in punta di piedi, di non lasciare quindi spazzatura fuori posto; così il cammino risulterà più leggero; per visitare la monumentalità il cammino è lungo e religioso.

Here I am with Monica in August 2021
The new hat that Monica picked out for me!

You can see lots more Venetian artisans in the Live in Venice Week series. The full listing is here, and I’ll be sharing more of these interviews in the coming months.

About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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6 Responses to When Venice Lives: It Looks Like This–Tabarro San Marco

  1. Vince Gratzer says:

    Monica shows much spirt, creativity and passion for Venice and her art. I’ll definitely visit her shop next month as I’m looking for a styling straw hat so I can strut down the Zattere in style!

    • She will certainly help you find the right hat! When I was in her shop, I watched her help two different clients find just the right style, and she also picked out something for me that drew many compliments!

  2. blynndav says:

    Great series, Kathy! When Monica says that Casanova mentions the workshop, what does she mean–was there another one on this site?
    Albert looks A-MAY-ZING in his cape!!

  3. Rita Bottoms says:

    An important new series!!!

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