Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Venice > Blog > The Rialto Market, where you can taste the Venice of the past

The Rialto Market, where you can taste the Venice of the past

Buying a house in Venice becomes an opportunity to discover the most fascinating and historical corners of the city. We take you with us to visit the Rialto Market, one of the oldest in Italy


Imagine going out one morning to visit a market that has over a thousand years of history, crossing a picture-perfect bridge: it seems to be in a movie scene, which however can easily become reality.

Such as? There is only one way to find out: buying a house in Venice, a city that has built its fortune on trade and which still preserves one of the oldest markets in Italy.

Around Rialto the oldest town nucleus developed the entire city, because here, since 1097, the main market takes place. Selling a house in Venice was easier if close to this area, because in a few steps you would arrive in a real open-air shopping center which included buildings dedicated to the different commodities: Herbaria for those who offered for sale the vegetables of the nearby countryside, Beccaria with animals from all over the world, Casaria with fresh caci brought directly from the Asiago plateau, Ruga de Spezieri for the prized Orientals and of course Pescaria, which still today maintains its original destination and hosts fish schools.


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Buying a house in Venice was for many merchants the goal of a life that many managed to achieve. Just think that in the golden age of city commerce, around the sixteenth century, the stalls filled the area around the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto - the first to be affected by the market - and then continue along the Rialto bridge towards San Marco , with the shops of hatters, shoemakers, mangers, that is, woolen polishers, and merchants of fabrics that overflowed with precious silks. The luxury houses in Venice multiplied thanks to the proceeds of the market and dressed in its brocades.

Every day was a coming and going of boats that transported goods, while in the streets the warehouses were concentrated, that is, the warehouses for storage, and the craftsmen. The toponymy still demonstrates this: there are cases of easy interpretation such as the Riva del vin or that of the iron. If, on the other hand, you are thinking of buying a house in Venice on Calle delle Rasse, you should know that this was the area where the ladies went to choose the precious Russian wool cloths.

Among the houses for sale in Venice Castello, have you spotted the one that's right for you near the Paglia bridge? Probably that same house was once the home of a rope merchant.

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Today Rialto is a point of reference for tourism and for social life. In the spaces occupied by the shops flourish bars, restaurants and bacari or those small taverns where a glass of good wine, also called "ombre", is accompanied by a dish of local specialties, starting with sardines in saor and folpetti (octopus with sauce).

Those who have decided to buy a house in Venice also for these little corners to discover, will be able to take a tour of the modern Rialto market, with the fishmongers Nino, Mario, Andrea who have been offering fresh fish for half a century, with the greengrocers who have decided to present the first fruits and regional specialties or with some examples of gourmet street food, which offer boiled octopus or the typical specialties of Venetian cuisine in a prêt-à-porter version. The latter are the heirs of the famous taverns that populated these streets (and which in many cases give them their name): Osteria dello Storione, Gambaro, delle Spade or della Donzella.

For lovers of the markets of the past, Venice is still the main reference point today, as demonstrated by the jewel of Rialto. Among the Venice real estate agencies Engel & Völkers can offer you a wide range of solutions capable of creating a bridge between the two faces of the town, the past of the merchants and the present of the premises and gourmet shops. In this magnificent historic center that has made bridges its banner.

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Engel & Völkers
Licence Partner Venice
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