Is Rialto market at risk?


Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Laura Teso

What? Rialto market at risk? Yes, sad but true. It seems that Rialto market is at risk, after 1000 years of history.

I don’t usually write about this kind of stuff, but, as soon as I read this news, I thought about sharing it with you. I imagined that you would want to know… right?

First of all, nowadays only half of the stalls remain. And some of them are for sale. The price is 20.000 euros each, while 15 years ago a stall costed about 100 – 150.000 euros.

Rialto market at risk

Rialto market at risk causes

The causes are:

  • New purchase habits (supermarkets).
  • Depopulation of the city centre.
  • The fact that people nowadays spend less time in cooking.
  • Economical crisis forced people to prefer canned fish rather than fresh fish.
  • No young people want to work at the market, so there’s no generational change. The only one who accept to do this kind of jobs are immigrants.
  • The majority of tourists who spend some nights in Venice do not cook, so they do not buy stuff at the market.

Also, rumor has it that a new law of the European Parliament about mollusks made things worse. According to this new law, the market stalls can no longer sell some shellfishes to restaurants, unless they have the EEC label. But this label is something that only big supermarkets, with big warehouses and lots of workers, can do.

The municipality of Venice did not adopt a policy of safeguard for the historical centre, for the urban fabric and for the historical activities. While the city of Paris, for example, has prohibited the opening of supermarkets in the historical centre in order to preserve small shops and activities.

By a strange coincidence, someone has recently stolen the banner with St. Mark lion and the writing: Rialto no se toca (Don’t touch Rialto), that was once on display at the market. Some Venetians fear that this could be a bad omen and that the market will be soon abandoned. 

Rialto market at risk
Rialto no se toca – Rialto market at risk

In my opinion the municipality should think of something to revitalize the entire area, following the example of some city markets like La Boqueria in Barcelona, or il Mercato Centrale in Rome, where people go for luch to grab a bite and purchase something to bring at home, too. 

Anyway, it would be a terrible pity if the Rialto Market would close for good. Please, share the article with a friend to spread the news. Maybe, the next time you visit Venice, you could buy something at the market. I will durely do it next time! 

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