Every day throngs of tourists scramble to the Rialto, Venice's second most photographed bridge (after the Bridge of Sighs). But in their mad photographic dash, most of those tourists miss the best photo -- and culinary -- opportunity in Venice's San Polo area. There, just along the Canal Grande Venice's markets buzz as the restaurateurs and home cooks alike jostle for the best seafood, fruits, and vegetables in the city.
The area has been home to a market since the 11th century, and most of the enclosures standing on the site today date from the 1500's.
The market itself isn't all that unique: shoppers haggle over prices while merchants display their wares. But it has a distinctly Venetian flavor.
The Campo della Pescheria, or fish market, is yet another example of Venice's metaphorical and literal marriage to the sea with fresh -- and often live -- seafood temptingly and artfully displayed.
In the open-air fruit and vegetable market, or Erberia, delicious produce makes for a colorful photo.
Personally, when I'm traveling I sometimes find that I'm not eating enough fruits and vegetables. A market like this makes for a great excuse to pick up something local, seasonal, and delicious for a snack.
And while the merchandise is beautiful, the market is a great place for people watching as well.
The Gypsy's Essentials
- Location: just across the Ponte di Rialto (the Rialto bridge) in the San Polo neighborhood of Venice
- Price: free
- Who will love it? Children, foodies, photographers... there's a little something for everyone. In addition to the fresh seafood and produce, stalls and stores sell spices, wines, meats, and all kinds of other food stuffs. If you are staying in an apartment, this is the place to come for the ingredients for a great meal. If not, wander and then enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in the area.
- Hours: 7:30 am - 1 pm (Monday - Saturday); the Pescheria is closed on Mondays.
- Notes: New public restrooms have been installed near the market. Look for the signs for the WC -- they are well-marked. The restrooms cost €1 per person to use, but they are clean and well-tended. Additionally, look for il gobbo, the stone sculpture of a hunchback that supports the public rostrum -- the place where for centuries new laws and the names of criminals were proclaimed.