Markets and supermarkets, Venice
Venice is the place to go to eat sea food - it is all so fabulous and fresh!
Whilst you are roaming around in Venice you will no doubt stumble across one of the fish markets dotted around the city. There is a large one early in the day in the Dorsoduro, and a few stalls can also be found in Campo Santa Margherita (where this picture was taken).
The main fish market or pescaria is located just near the Rialto bridge in San Polo. It has been in operation for 700 years!
If you have rented an appartment in Venezia, and plan to cook yourself dinner, you won’t have any problem to get fresh vegetables and fruits everywhere. The main market is of course the one north of Rialto. I never bought there as I lived far away and had my own little vegetable stall nearby. But I was amazed of the countless amount of market stalls with any kind of fresh goods.
Another nice and very much typical way to shop vegetables and salad and fruit are the vegetable boats at Campo Barnaba and Via Garibaldi (these are the two I know of, but I am sure, there are more). The one in Via Garibaldi are most probably a bit more reasonable, as this is a neighbourhood without hotels, thus only locals live here. I never was at one of these boats, as I was always too late when passing by. But… nexttime for sure. These are the boats of farmers from Sant’Erasmo, the farmers’ island. And next time I’ll also go there by boat, I have read that they have very much excellent restaurants. Not fancy but good !
Small farmers stalls are almost everywhere in the more locals’ neighbourhoods, like northern Canaregio, and Castello. The one I went and bought rucola every day was in Barbaria de le Tole, the continuation of Salizzada SS Giovanni e Paolo. To give you idea of the prices:
300 g rucola were 1,60 Euro, 300 g of tomatoes were 1,60 Euro, one thick bulb of garlic was 0,50 Euro.
BTW: if you ask for the goods, 100 gram = 1 etto in Italian, etti are more 100 grams. So due etti are 200 g.
Even in Venice I needed to shop in a supermarket occasionally, as eating out a few times a day is just too expensive. We found three supermarkets:
- Billa, easy to find as it's on the way from the train station to San Marco. Just walk away from the station on the main street, cross a few bridges - I never counted them - and you'll find Billa on the left. Here you can see many tourists shopping and the cashiers all spoke some English.
- COOP, at Piazzale Roma. A lot less tourists, a very good cheese counter. The assistant there spoke no English at all, which was fun as I had to try and speak Italian. I got what I wanted, excellent pecorino for a picnic.
- Another supermarket, whose name I forgot. This one was near San Barnaba, the door was small and at first I didn't realize that it is a supermarket. I was the only tourist there and I didn't hear a single word of English.
If you need water, fruits or a joghurt, these supermarkets are a good way of saving some money.
One of the rare Supermarkets in Venice. The Chain Billa has 4, and this one is the most convenient to the center of the city and Rialto area. For basic food needs and water, you'll save a lot of money by stoping by here.
What to buy: food and basic necesitities
What to pay: More than average on the mainland, but better than any other options in Venice.
I already mentioned it in the packing list – if you run out of beauty stuff, you can easily fill your stocks up in Bottega Verde, an Italian “version” of Body Shop. I found one Bottega Verde shop in Strada Nuova, close to where the traghetto stop is. Prices are reasonable, and the goods are ecologically safe and friendly. No animal testing. Thanks to Chiara for telling me about this shop before I left for Venezia:
It seems that there is a huge amount of supermarkets located throughout whole Venezia, I found one of the 2 (or 3?) Billa supermarkets also in Strada Nuova, just before it continues into Vittorio Emanuele. Christine describes another Billa and a Coop close to the train station.
What to buy: Close to where I lived (at Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo), was a supermarket called SuVe (Supermarket Venezia), small, but it had all I needed. I got my peperoncino there, my Lavazza espresso (haha, and I dragged kilos of them home into my appartment, this espresso just vanishes like nothing, once you have such a machine and gas cooking…), my Barilla pasta, milk and water. Adress: Castello 5811/18.
Oh, water – the price for a bottle of 1,5 litre of natural water (acqua naturale) is 0,50 Euro !
So make sure, you find one of these supermarkets to get your supply of water. Smaller bottles, mainly in the neuralgic spots, are way more expensive !
The Rialto Market is a nice outdoor market where fresh fruits and vegetables are traded. Despite of its relatively neigbourhood to the Rialto Bridge, it still doesn't seem to be overcrowded by tourists.
Just adjacent to the outdoor market the fish market (Peschiera) can be found. It is located in an old market hall.
The Rialto Market and the fish market (Peschiera) are held only 5 minutes on food from the Rialto Bridge. They are situated at Campo San Giacomo and Campo della Pescheria in the San Polo district.
In case you have bunch of children or you're just a fruit lover, buy fruits in Mestre or any other place in the surroundings of Venice. The prices you can find here are twice cheaper then in Venice, and the fruits are definetely fresher.
What to buy: This is (see the picture) Easter offer, buy strawberry of course.
What to pay: One single-box cost you 1 euro, two boxes one euro a piece, in case you buy three or more boxes, burgain the price.
In Venice all happens on boats on the canals, like the transportation and selling of goods. So we saw at the Campo S Barnaba this local vegetable market at the boats at the Rio de S Barnaba.
What to buy: The local people bought here their vegetables like cauliflower and carrots.
I was pleased to find a supermarket fairly near to my hotel, so that I could stock up on a few snacks to eat in my room. My breakfast was quite basic , so i purchased some yogurts (1.20 euros for 4 pots) potato crisps (1.10 euros for a large packet) praline chocolate (3.50 euros) fruit juice (1.05 euro and 1.10 euros) clementines (3 euros) and a packet of biscuits (2.95 euros).
This supermarket also stocked a selection of wines, beers and spirits, cold meats, cheeses as well as tinned goods etc. There was also a selection of toiletries.
Some info on Supermarkets in Venice
What to buy: Drinks for your room, or to take home - probably a lot cheaper than at the airport
Crisps, chocolates, fruit, biscuits etc,
What to pay: From less than 1 euro upwards.
This one was on Zattere Fondamenta.
See the lady with the wheeled cart? That's the over-40-venetian-lady way. They even have hooks to hang them on in the store while you shop. (the carts, not the ladies)
There are a variety of smaller grocery shops too. We used a smaller one called 'Punta" in St. Margherita Campo a lot. The Punta charged a few cents for their grocery bags, so we learned to take them back to re-use. I can't remember if the Billa charged for bags...
What to buy: Good food in the deli department way in the back of the store--search it out!
What to pay: Cheaper than eating out every night.
Our host warned us that when we went shopping for fruit, not to touch it with our bare hands--a big NO, NO. Instead you tell the vendor what you want and they will bag it for you, or sometimes, especially in the grocery stores, there are plastic hand gloves for you to wear. Just look for the dispenser.
We spent a lot of time in the Rialto market. This is an open-air market with some great shopping. We found all kinds of cool gifts- scarves, murano glass, jewelry, hand-bags, clothing and so much more. There is also a fresh fruit and flower market which is very visually stimulating!
What to buy: Glass!
What to pay: 5 euros to 50 euros
This place is like an oasis in desert. Venice is expensive and existence of such a food store is very pleasant. You can do all of your food shopping from here at reasonable price. I remember the bottle of 500 ml coke was around Euro 0.57.
The Pescheria, or fish market, is a short walk from the Rialto Bridge on the San Polo side of the Grand Canal. The current structure was built in 1907 by Domenico Rupolo and Cesare Laurenti in a Neo-Gothic style; fish have actually been sold here for 600 years.
What to buy: Wall to wall fish
Venice attracts some 20,000,000 tourists a year. Add in a local population of roughly 60,000, and you're talking about a big appetite for groceries. Since the year 1097, Venetians have depended on the Rialto markets for their daily supplies of fish, vegetables, fruit, and other foodstuffs. The markets are open to the public, and there's no better show in town.