Venice: The Rialto Market
I love fresh food markets. The wet and stinky ones in Singapore as well as my favourite Victoria and Footscray markets in Melbourne Australia or the gourmet Borough market in London. When I had the chance to visit a fresh food market in Venice, I jumped at the opportunity.
Nestled within the historical heart of Venice is the famous Rialto market. To add to the excitement of the day, we had to take a traghetto across the canal to get to the market. The traghetto is a public gondola ferry that only takes you across the canal (in place of a bridge). You get on the gondola with a whole other bunch of people, the gondolier dictates who stands and who sits just to balance out the weight on the boat, and in less than five minutes, you are across the canal. It’s a great experience and only costs 50 euro cents.
First enter the pescheria – the fish market, and a feeling of amazement takes over. Fishes l have never seen before in a market lay writhing on the various counters. Housewives rattling in rapid Italian exchange conversations with the fishmongers.
Giant, whole (and very ugly) monkfish, abundance of crayfish tails, a heap of slimy octopus, a huge head of a swordfish…what amazing sights to behold.
Walk past the pescheria, and there lies the erbaria – the fruit and vegetable haven. Fresh, colourful mountains of heirloom tomatoes, sliced up artichoke hearts floating in water, gorgeous zucchini flowers and basketfuls of fresh herbs – makes me want to buy a whole bunch of them and head into my kitchen straightaway for a big cookout.
Markets. I never enjoyed or appreciated them when I was a kid, but now, whenever I’m in a new town or city, the markets are almost always my favourite spots to visit.