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Rialto Food Markets


By Durant Imboden

Venice attracts some 20,000,000 tourists a year. Add in a local population of 58,000, and you're talking about a big appetite for groceries.

Since the year 1097, Venetians have depended on the Rialto markets for their daily supplies of fish, vegetables, fruit, and other foodstuffs.

Calamari at the Rialto Fish MarketThe markets are open to the public, and there's no better show in town.

Stevedores unload crates of produce from barges; vendors hawk their wares; restaurant chefs examine the daily supply of fish, crustaceans, and bivalves; delivery men push handcarts laden with fruit and vegetables.

It's best to arrive early if you want to see the Erberia (vegetable market) and Pescheria (fish market) in full swing.

The barges start arriving at dawn, and the vendors are bargaining with customers by 8 a.m. The wholesalers and most of the retailers close up shop by midday (or 1 p.m. at the latest), so stock up on fruit and photo opportunities before lunch!

Reaching the Rialto markets

Waterbus lines on the Grand Canal stop at Rialto, on the left bank of the Grand Canal. (The No. 1 vaporetto is the most scenic, zigzagging across the canal from stop to stop.)

From the waterbus platform, head for the Rialto Bridge. Cross the bridge, then dive into the mass of people and stalls on the opposite bank.

Work your way to the right, and you'll encounter the Erberia along the water.

The Pescheria is farther along. Go through the archway at the far end of the Erberia, then continue past the Fabbriche Nuove to the Campo della Pescaria.

Note: The Erberia and Pescheria are open Tuesday through Saturday.

(Locals suggest not ordering fish in restaurants on Mondays, because the Pescheria is closed on Monday and the fish is unlikely to be fresh.)

Related article:
Rialto Bridge

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