Rialto was originally the name of the whole city of Venice
Rialto was originally the name of the whole city of Venice. At the time of the Serenissima though, anyone would use the term Rialto to address the mercantile heart of the ancient city, the true centre of commerce. You could hear all possible languages spoken here, you could find merchandise of the largest variety, above all luxury goods from far off countries, such as sugar, black pepper, silk and perfume.
The Carampane district and the bridge of the Tette
Not too far from Rialto, the red light district would also be quite lively! The so-called Carampane and the quite well-known bridge of the Tette were very popular for the ones reaching Venice for business, and not just.
Arranged as a middle-eastern souk, but designed in Renaissance architecture, Rialto is connected to St Mark’s square via the most celebrated bridge and the Mercerie street. On one side Rialto, with its commerce, on the other side of the Grand Canal, St Mark’s square, once the political, judicial and religious centre of Venice.
The Rialto bridge in the painting
In the painting by Vittore Carpaccio at the Accademia Gallery, the Rialto bridge is shown as it was: a draw-bridge in wood, opening in its centre to let ships pass by. Rebuilt in stone, the bridge is now an iconic monument for the whole city, so much that by “Rialto” many refer to the bridge rather than to the area nearby.
Today Rialto is known for its market, where you can almost daily buy fish, meat, fruit and vegetables. Rialto also becomes the perfect place for an aperitif, a spritz and some “cicchetti”, popular Venetian fingerfood.
A guided tour of the Rialto
A guided tour of the Rialto is of great interest to understand the Venetian society of the past, but also its culinary tradition. You can start with seafood based recipes, such as cuttle fish cooked in its own ink, fried soft shell crabs, goby fish risotto, marinated sardines with onions, raisins and pine nuts, to baccala cream to lay on a slice of crunchy bread.
Exploring the delicacies of the lagoon’s
Why not exploring the delicacies of the lagoon’s orchards then? If in season, do not miss the baby artichokes with their soft leaves, or pumpkin, or risotto with peas. And finally, you should try wine from the islands of the Venetian lagoon with that gentle “brackish” taste reminding you of our soil rich in salt. In each season, different colours, flavours and tastes. Before leaving, however, do enjoy our traditional biscuits, as the “zaeti” with yellow corn flour or the thin “baicoli” to dip in coffee or, in winter, in hot rich chocolate!