Regular readers know that when I say it’s time to eat, you’re likely to get a recipe from the Under Western Skies Kitchen, or perhaps photos from a meal I enjoyed on a trip somewhere. It could be anywhere, because I enjoy food, and traveling works up an appetite.
What better place to enjoy eating than in one of Italy’s innumerable regional culinary capitals and perhaps my favorite city in the world, Venice?
The Veneto is home to countless delicious specialties. Treviso is known for radicchio, that red chicory familiar to salad-lovers, and one can have risotto con radicchio like this:
When I described our visit to Treviso, I mentioned the tasty linguini and clams we had in a restaurant situated in an old mill spanning one of the city’s canals.
I can’t attempt to represent the scope and diversity of the food of Venice in a single post, or I’ll leave out someone’s favorite. Instead, I’ll write about one of my favorite food adventures on any trip to Venice: Mercato Rialto, the Rialto Market.
Rialto has been Venice’s market and shopping area since the 11th Century. Every traveler, even armchair ones, is familiar with the famous Rialto bridge, the primary landmark. Cross the bridge (red circle, below) into San Polo, and you’re in a welter of shops and stalls. A few steps take you to the Erberia — the open air fruit and vegetable market (red flag).
For reference, St. Mark’s Square is the blue star at the bottom.
Whenever we reach Venice, The Counselor and I can’t resist visiting the Erberia — packed with fresh, colorful produce, one of the continent’s longest-established places of commerce, and a delight to all the senses. Here she is, considering what’s for lunch.
The Erberia sits right on the Grand Canal. As they have for 10 centuries, boats dock to unload goods bound for the shops of Mercato Rialto.
Whether you get an apartment in Venice and can cook for yourself, want to pick up some fresh fruit to carry as you tour Venice or you’re simply a fan of luscious food, a visit to the Mercato Rialto is a treat. Here are scenes from the market. Click on the first and follow the arrow to view the sequence in larger views. Escape to return.
Immediately beside the Erberia is the Mercato del Pesce, the fish market, packed with vendors selling fish and shellfish taken just hours before from the lagoon and the Adriatic (click on an image for larger view).
A couple of tips: to my knowledge, you’re not bargaining; prices are established and marked. Don’t pick up the produce. Indicate what you want, and the vendor will put it in a sack for you.
For however long you’re there, exercise your Italian (a good opportunity to learn the names for fruit and vegetables), drink in the sights, smells and sounds, listen to the conversations and the cries of the vendors. For at least that time, you’re no longer a tourist, you’re a local … you’re Italian! Avanti … mangiare!
© Brad Nixon 2016, 2017
N.B. The individuals in the photos are wearing jackets. The photos were shot late one July. Venice is often extremely hot in summer, but the Adriatic can deliver chilly weather any time.