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A big attraction for early birds, since the stalls close around midday, the Mercato di Rialto is one of those places that will make you feel good because, on mixing among the local people, you will realise that you are distancing yourself from what the majority of tourists do. In fact, if you get here at first light, you will even see how they unload the goods from the barges.
With more than 1,000 years behind it, this market, divided into two adjoining parts that project into the Grand Canal, is a veritable institution in the city. On one side, in the Erberia they sell all kinds of fruit and vegetables, among which feature the local varieties, such as the radicchio.
In contrast, beneath the arcades of the Pescheria you can check out the frenetic activity of the traders hassling away to sell the fresh produce, such as crabs, sardines or squid, brought by the local fishermen.
Although the market is a busy spot throughout the year, perhaps the summer period is the best time for you to feel part of this festival for the senses, since to alleviate the humid heat of Venice there are few things more gratifying than buying a refreshing piece of fruit, and much more so if you buy it in the Erberia, famous for its competitive prices.
When you have enjoyed the show of these stalls, at which you will be able to hear the most authentic popular expressions of the Venetian language, you can stop and eat in the area which has a wealth of bars and restaurants, in both quantity and variety.
From splendid pizza houses to Oriental cuisine restaurants, this area offers you everything, including a spot specialising in pumpkin recipes or an exclusive restaurant frequented by the most famous faces from Hollywood during the Film Festival.
However, if you want to have an authentic Venetian experience at a good price, then you should go one of the bars in the Campo delle Beccarie, which normally have the market traders as their regular clientele. The best idea is to have a glass of chilled white wine and a succulent fish snack. Given the quality of the produce sold in the Mercato di Rialto, it is a safe bet.
Gran Canal (1A)
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Palazzo Ducale (6)
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Santa Maria della Salute (42)
Basilica de San Giovanni e Paolo (36)
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Palazzo Grassi (26)
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Torre dell’Orologio (9)
Basilica di San Marco (5)
Ca’Vendramin Calergi (19)
Fondaco dei Turchi (17)
Palazzo Labia (16)
Ponte di Rialto (2)
Chiesa dei Gesuiti (33)
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo (41)
Statue of Colleoni (38)
Calle del Fumo (30)
Chiesa del Redentore (47)
I Gesuati (43)
Malibran Theatre (35)
Palazzo Mocenigo (25)
Calle Larga XXII Marzo (14)
Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto (31)
La Giudecca (45)
Mercato di Rialto (18)
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (39)