I haven't found my dream gondolier yet, but I did find my dream fish market. I spent the morning at the Rialto Market, which is most popular for its fish market located next to the Rialto Bridge in the Campo della Pescheria. It's a place to watch the few real Venetians on the island go about their daily lives. The vendors shout salutations to the nearby store owners as they go to their stands. Some even place their lunch orders ahead of time. And, the few Venetian housewives (casalinghe) and grandmas do their shopping for the day's meal and put their purchases into their rolling shopping carts.
I'm fascinated by the fish, their names in Italian, and how their displayed on ice. Each fish is labeled with an F.A.O. number. This number indicates exactly where the fish was caught anywhere in the world. I love to watch the vendors slice and dice the fish into fillets, and spent a lot of time staring in awe at the fish mongers at work. I can fillet a fish but not nearly as quickly and efficiently as these guys do it.
Along with the fish market, there is a fruit and vegetable market (Erberia). Summer fruits and vegetables are in abundance now, along with those beautiful zucchini flowers. The fruit and vegetable signage also names the origins of the produce. The Rialto Market is open from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7am to Noon, a little later for the Erberia. Get there early like the Venetians do in order to see daily life in Venice.
I have several ideas for dishes and am sure I'll be making a few more stops at the Rialto Market during my stay here, and might pick up some of those little snails, too.