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Rialto Market

07.30 - 13.00 San Polo

Venice is one of those amazing places where everything is within walking distance and is best enjoyed if you just wander along the winding alleyways discovering little-known spots. Districts like Cannaregio, Castello and San Polo are often missed by busy tourists who head straight for Saint Mark’s Square and surrounds.

If you are looking for something of the real Venice then try the Rialto Market in San Polo. This market is arguably the best in Venice and is packed with locals and local flavour, as well as a generous nod to the tourist trade. The market is even mentioned in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and has been on the site for more than 1,000 years!

The market is on Monday – Saturday from 7.30am until 1pm so it is a good idea to get up early to see the best of the produce and the market’s character, and of course it will be less crowded. But you can also spend a good couple of hours here later in the morning and still get your fill of the bustling atmosphere. Located just around the corner from the famous Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal it is worth the extra few steps if you are planning to see the bridge anyway.

So what can you buy? Everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to fish and seafood is on offer and much of the produce is grown or caught locally. The stall fronts are a treat even if you don’t want to buy anything, with a dizzying array of rainbow colours and buckets full of wriggling baby squid and octopus, plus more exotic seafood.

This is a breathtaking spot to take some interesting shots if you are a keen photographer, with the light in the early morning seeming to glow on the water. The ancient backdrop of the stunning Gothic architecture is a superb contrast to the everyday lives of the Venetians today.

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