The Rialto Market

In this chapter we discuss one of the most characteristic and colorful areas of the whole island of Venezia, the Rialto Market.

The island was known as Riva Alta, and could not fail to attract the first inhabitants of Venezia, who already in 810 decided that this was the ideal place for the markets. In this district there was not only the market, but also the first ducal residence, prisons, courts, city warehouses and military barracks. If San Marco was the political heart of Venezia, Rialto was undoubtedly the commercial center of the city, where bargained barges arrived at dawn and unload boxes and baskets on the quay along the Grand Canal.

The Rialto Market already at that time was divided according to the categories of goods for sale, the main areas are the Herbaria, which from 1097 until a few years ago, housed the general market of fruit and vegetables, located in Campo Erbaria, Beccaria became a public slaughterhouse, the Casaria the cheese market, the Pescaria became the fish market set up in a gothic covered building, which unlike the canals of the city where the fish was sold directly from the fishermen's boats, here were set up fish stands in wood, and the Ruga degli Speziali, where the spice merchants with their original displays in the shop window recall the exotic abundance that once characterized the Venezia market.

The Rialto Market already at that time was divided according to the categories of goods for sale, the main areas are the Herbaria, which from 1097 until a few years ago, housed the general market of fruit and vegetables, located in Campo Erbaria, Beccaria became a public slaughterhouse, the Casaria with cheese market, the Pescaria with the fish market set up in a gothic covered building, which unlike the canals of the city, where the fish was sold directly from the fishermen's boats, here were set up in wood, and the Ruga degli Speziali, where the spice merchants were and what they find, with their original expositions in the window, recall the exotic abundance that once far away, at the end of Campo San Giacomo, near a of the columns of the Sotoportego della Sicurtà, there is a stone staircase supported by a marble figure, the so-called "Hunchback of Rialto", sculpted by Pietro da Salò in 1541.

From here it was proclaimed the officers to the people, but the Venetians used it to denounce abuses, negligence and other injustices. Also worthy of note are the marble plaques which, already centuries ago, regulated the minimum size of the fish allowed according to the various species. Today the local production mainly includes the succulent asparagus and artichokes from the islands of Sant'Erasmo and Vignole which characterized the market of Venezia.

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