Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

Fishy business, Venice

Hours before sunrise purring diesel engines cut though the quiet night on Canal Grande.

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Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

Skippers and mates duck under Fondamento Riva Olio to moor along the quay. Friendly banter and greetings fly through the air as do Styrofoam boxes hauled from boats to land by hatted and gloved men.

Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

Pallets are laid out and hand trucks parked with precision as if it was choreographed. Filled they are hauled off to the market stands behind heavy red and green tarps protecting from chilly winter winds or scorching sun in the summer.

Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

Darkness give way to a crimson sky as boxes are cut open, excess ice shaken off and squid, octopus, shrimps are laid out on beds of ice. Net crates are filled with coquilles and doused into frigid water by glove less hands. Salmon and catfish are sliced into files and small sharks are skinned.

Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

Seagulls wearily strut around looking for a nibble and waiting for something to be dropped. As hours go by empty Styrofoam boxes pile up and the sky turns blue grey. Half an hour before eight the first shoppers stop by to look for a salmon cutlet, some Anchovies or perhaps calamari and an hour later it is bustling on the day of weekly abstinence from warm blooded meat.

Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

It is Friday at Campo de Pecheria where traditions stay strong and the selection of seafood is excellent. Whole sale or retail, chefs or housewives all come early to get the best pick. By lunch it is all over, empty ice beds are drained and Seagulls feast.

Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

Once the main course is acquired side dishes and dessert are handpicked at the fruit and vegetable stands along Canal Grande. The place has been bustling since 1097 when the “high banks” (Rivoaltus) of Rio Businiacus became Mercato di Rialto.

Rialto fish market, Venice, Italy

More pictures from Venice here and the Carnevale here.

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