Rialto food market, Venice

I have been told that the best time to visit Rialto food market is first thing in the morning when the fish is fresh and before the chefs have been in to buy the best products for today’s hungry dinners. The market its self is just up the river from the iconic Rialto bridge so not hard to find. There are 2 large open market buildings with massively high ceilings and impressive pillared arches on each of the walls, dwarfing the market stalls inside. Not much has changed with the structure in many hundreds of years apart from the introduction of some deep red mesh blinds on the arches which can be pulled down once the sun starts heating up.

The stallholders are still bustle around with activity as they finish laying out their freshly caught fish. Piles of scallop shells sit next to shiny squid with eyes looking right at you as you walk on past. Octopus of all shapes and sizes next to carefully lined up iridescent blue mackerel. Lines of freshly filleted anchovies are laid out alongside large mounds of bright orange tiger prawns. I watch a fishmonger skilfully chopping up a large tuna into steaks one side of the hall. Then spot 3 men preparing creates of squid the black ink dripping from the edge of the table with one of the fishmonger lazily smoking a cigarette as he works. I weaved through the arches observing the market come to life as if it was a soap opera with its sole purpose to entertain me.

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