Merchants and Fondacos: Rialto, the Market and the San Polo district
The Rialto Bridge links the two sides of Venice which are divided by the Grand Canal. On one side of the Grand Canal is the St Mark’s area, once the centre of political power, but the focus of this guided tour is the Rialto, to be found on the other side, in the San Polo district. For centuries the Rialto was the commercial heart of Venice, where Venetian bankers and businessmen traded with merchants hailing from far and wide.
Local people still come daily to Rialto Market to buy fresh fish, vegetables and fruit. Dotted around the market area there are numerous traditional bacari (wine bars), some looking onto the Grand Canal, others hidden down back alleyways, where you will rub shoulders with the locals, as you and your guide sample cicheti (traditional bar-snacks), chased down with a glass of wine.
Close to the market area is the “Carampane”; now a quiet and respectable neighbourhood, five hundred years ago the Carampane was home to many of Venice’s prostitutes, and you will find that its past notoriety is recalled in certain street names, like the Fondamente and Ponte delle Tette.
The tour includes a visit to the Rialto ancient trade centre and its food markets as well as some hidden corners in the district of San Polo as the Carampane district.
Duration of the tour: 2 hours
Cost of tour: starting from 75 euro per hour up to 8 participants