The recently restored Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous things to see in Venice. The gleaming white bridge arches across the Grand Canal near St. Mark’s square, making it one of the most-frequented bridges in the city. As much as I love to catch a sight of it every time I go back to Venice, my favorite thing about the area is actually the Rialto fish market which takes place on the edge of the canal nearby.
The Rialto fish market is one of those Venetian traditions that I hope never changes. The market has been taking place here for nearly 1,000 years. Records show that there has been a Rialto market taking place in this incredible Venetian setting since 1097.
From Tuesday through Saturday, fishmongers open their stalls under the protected awnings of the market to display the fresh catch of the day.
Five days a week, fisherman pull in to the market docks with their catches straight from the lagoon. Of course, there is fish, but the market is also brimming with squirmy eels and soft shelled crabs scrambling around the boxes where they are on show to tempt hungry customers.
Venice always provides an unforgettable backdrop but the market is truly special. It is held inside Neo-gothic pavillions on the edge of the Grand Canal.
The arched buildings date back to the 16th century and were constructed after a fire destroyed the marketplace in 1514.
Here is a little taste of the atmosphere as you wander through the marketplace:
The Rialto market is most famous for its seafood, but there are also fruit and vegetable sellers in the neighboring area leading up to the fish market. Even if you don’t have a kitchen to make use of in Venice, the fresh market is the perfect place to shop for healthy snacks to keep you fed between cicchetti stops.
The fresh food stalls at the Rialto market are open on Mondays, as well, even while the fish stalls remain closed.
The Rialto market opens around 7:30 or 8 am and closes a bit after12 pm, so it is a morning-only activity. I highly recommend a coffee at Caffé del Doge before or after your market excursion.
How to Get There
The Rialto Market is a short walk from the Rialto bridge. If you are crossing from San Marco, take an immediate right to reach the fish market as soon as you pass over the Grand Canal. The easiest way to find it is to walk along the canal.
You will first pass through fresh food market before you arrive at the pescheria (fish market).
The Rialto Mercato vaporetto stop is also a minute from the market itself if you prefer to arrive by “water boat”.
Calle de la Pescaria,
30122 Venice, Italy
Pescheria (Fish Market) Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 7:30 am – 12 pm.
Rialto Market Open: Monday – Saturday from 7:30 am – 12 pm.
P.S. love local Italian markets? Then you have to plan to visit the rowdier Catania fish market the next time you find yourself in Sicily.