When in Rome, do as the Romans do, but when in Venice, do as the Venetians do: Get thee to the food market along the Grand Canal. It is full of locals and is an integral part of their life.
The Mercato del Pesce—the fish market—is a fabulous place to browse for seafood, produce, and fruit, and to join with locals’ market banter, similar to that at the Seattle market where lively characters hawk their products. Arrive early to see fresh fish being unloaded from the boats.
Dawn is the start of the market’s day as sellers begin to set up around 4am—just as they have done for nearly one thousand years. To get there, find the Rialto Bridge at the center of Venice, near St. Marks Square and the Grand Canal, and linking the San Marco and San Polo neighborhoods. The covered Rialto Market was probably built in the late 11th century. Market stalls are both inside the covered market area and outdoors, with shops lining Venice’s Rialto Bridge and the streets nearby.
Most of all the products are grown in nearby regions of Italy, and many of the vegetables are grown locally on San Erasmo Island. All the seafood, produce, and fruits must have a sign stating its place of origin.