Touring local markets is a highlight of any visit to a new city, and finding the markets frequented by locals is a special delight. Venice has a tremendous local market, the Rialto, with its landmark bridge and early morning/late night bar scene. It’s a lovely one, to be sure, where I got to see the morning crowd shout about football and chop up fish over the day’s fresh offerings.

However, my best find was at the base of Ponte dei Pugni, the bridge of fists, where a little vegetable barge was tied up next to the bridge on a narrow canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere or neighbourhood. 

Venice canal boat barge vegetable stand

Formerly known as the place where scores were settled (on the bridge!), these days, the only thing you may fight over is the a great looking tomato. When I visited, harvest season was just ramping up, and the markets were full of my favourite Italian discovery, zucchini flowers.

It was a pretty hot day, so I grabbed some gelato in my favourite flavour, stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate strips). Finding a clean-ish seat in the sun at the base of the bridge, watching locals stock up for the day and tourists delight in finding a little vegetable boat in the Dorsoduro.

Venice canal boat barge vegetable stand