A trip to Venice would not be complete without a morning spent at the Rialto Mercato. However the first time I walked past the fish market was at night…just an empty space, then I arrived too late another afternoon…then the third time was the good one! I wish I was staying in a flat that day as there was so much I wanted to buy and cook, especially the fresh fish. Depsite the cold winter morning, the market was lively with a constant flow of locals. The few stalls open were full of colourful vegetables.
For centuries the Rialto district has been the financial and commercial heart of Venice. The town’s principal market was transferred here at the end of the eleventh century. Trading of all kinds took place, and this would be where Venetians and merchants could buy and sell exotic imported goods just unloaded from ships.
The market grew, both as a retail and as a wholesale market. But most of the buildings in the Rialto area were destroyed in a fire in 1514. The area was gradually rebuilt to the west of the Rialto Bridge with a complex of squares and colonnades. Today it is still a busy retail quarter, with the daily Erberia fruits and vegetables market, and the fish market under a covered hall the Pescheria.
Venetians come from every part of town to get their fresh produce, which include radicchio from Treviso, asparagus and baby artichokes (being turned by the market sellers) from the islands of Saint’Erasmo and Vignole.
After a wonderful dinner in private Palazzo which occasionnally does “table d’hôte”, I made a great encounter with the owner. But I had forgotten my hat. Luckily I was able to come back to the Palazzo to pick it up and this ended in a long chat over a glass of prosecco and crostolis making plans for gourmet and photo events….Stay tuned!