Welcome back to part three of your Welcome to Venice Package! And yes, this story is about the oldest market in Europe STILL IN PLACE, the Rialto Market in Venice, still is used as market (otherwise, the oldest marketspace in Europe would be the Agora’ in Athens).
According to legend, the Rialto was created in 421 AD, but most probably it is 400-500 years older. The Rivus Altus islands were ideal to create a sprawling market area on, which everyone could reach easily, located centrally on a large archipelago consisting of 118 solid islands lining the ancient mouth of the river Brenta on both sides. And soon, already during Roman times, it developed into a market, becoming a hub where spice expeditions were financed and negotiated.
The Rialto was so much more than just a fruit and vegetable market: it became a financial center when the first banks of Europe opened in the 14th century. Investments were negotiated and risk management techniques invented from which today’s basic methods derive. Venice, for more than 500 years played the role of the financial hub just like New York does in our times … If you are interested in the financial history of Venice, we will be doing a blog post soon and link to it here (La Venessiana’s second profession is working in the banking sector, by the way :-) so this is a topic I’m deeply interested in).
Now we take you behind the scenes of the Rialto and the Spice Expeditions ! I have prepared this link for you to read a special article on the Rialto Bridge, and why it was built in such a grand manner. After watching the video, click here to read more about the spice trade, from which the riches of Venice derived, and here to visit what remains today of the famous Venetian spice gardens.
Thank you so much for joining this private tour, we will be in touch soon with our monthly Venice Magazine Postcard from Venice! Do take a look at the categories food and spices on our blog as we will tell more stories of the Rialto Market in these categories. Have a question, comment or suggestion ? I’d love to hear from you, just click here to write me! Xo, Iris