Your Private Venice + Lagoon Tour – Day Three
Welcome back :-) Today’s articles tell you more about the role of the Rialto Market and why Venice came to exercise an important function as bridge between East and West, North and South. All these business streams were co-ordinated by the merchants and state agencies working at the Rialto Market. Contrary to the function it fulfills today, the Rialto was just a “part-time” fruit and vegetables market in the past. In addition to housing gourmet food stalls and spice ateliers, it was a major financial hub. Click here to learn more about its true story and role, and why the Rialto bridge was built in the first place !
In our times, the Rialto assumes an important function to keep Venice alive. Its Fish Market – Pescheria – has become a place to hold events and feasts, for example during Carnival and at Christmas. Today, it’s a symbol of Venetian private lifestyle, and you get a first impression of how lively it used to be 20 years ago in the video below. So the market area is still working quite well while at the same time looking for a new, more engaging role.
More about the Rialto Market. According to legend, the market was created in 421 AD, but most probably it is 400-500 years older. The Rivus Altus islands were ideal to create a market on, which everyone could reach easily, as they are located centrally on a sprawling 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 marketplace, 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 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
In case you haven’t seen Part Two of the Virtual Private Venice + Lagoon Tour: It’s a journey taking you to explore the verdant islands of the northern Lagoon. This is the most ancient part settled and it has a surprising history passed on by finds exposed at the Archeological Museum of Altino. Click here to start reading Day Two!