The Rialto Markets - the heart (and belly) of Venice
The Erbaria is an open-air arcade filled with stalls displaying a remarkable variety of vibrant fruit and vegetables, many of which, like the tiny purple Sant’Erasmo artichokes, Bassano white asparagus, and radicchio from Treviso, are unique to the Veneto region.
The vibe at the Pescaria is more shock and awe. If you’re used to buying seafood on a shrink-wrapped styrofoam tray in your local grocery store then be ready to have your mind blown. I had never seen such a fascinating variety of sea creatures – some alive like the hordes of silver-dollar sized crabs clawing at each other’s backs, or the snake-like eels writhing angrily in shallow buckets, while others, like the grey mullet, were just beginning to stiffen with the first signs of rigor mortis. In some stalls, monkfish were displayed belly up to hide their notoriously ugly faces, while in others, glistening mounds of baby octopus lay cozied up to piles of inky-black squid.
Authentic, historic and fascinating. This is where Venetians have shopped for nearly a thousand years.