Shopping in the San Polo area – Venice, Italy
The Rialto Bridge and the nearby markets are a great place to stroll around and also to shop for gifts and souvenirs. In the past, this was the city’s commercial quarter and it was here that bankers, brokers and merchants carried out their wheeling and dealing in high finance. Nowadays, it’s the restaurants, food markets and pasta shops that thrive here and bankers and brokers have been replaced by tourists.
Along the Grand Canal frontage, there are many restaurants to chose from if you get hungry after all the walking. However, if you prefer something quick and light at lunchtime, there are also cafes in the many side lanes. We happenend upon this one called New York, New York a few years ago and found it again this time. This is a very small local pub and the owner must have been inspired by the musical, however be warned that there’s nothing New Yorkish about the place. The cheese sandwich and coffee were good though and gave us the necessary energy to carry on with our exploration. Along your promenade, you’ll also come across bacaris which are the old-fashioned standing-only bars which are frequented by locals.
As you wend and weave your way around the back streets, you’ll never know what will unfold upon you. We came across this shop selling Venetian glass-bead jewellery and I did some serious buying here. Finding this shop was fortunate for me as I was able to take care of much of my gift shopping here, and very fortunate for the owner as she had just set up shop this month. She was a very nice lady and as we got chatting she revealed that she was a single mum and was keen to create a business for herself. Her very attractive glass-bead necklaces ranged from €15 to 50 and made great gifts for friends back home. It’s great to be able to support nice people like her.
Other shops that caught our attention were the colourful pasta shops. The bags of pasta look more like bags of lollies and it was so tempting to buy some, however the reminder of baggage weight problems very quickly put an end to such fleeting folly. The greengrocers had beautiful displays of fruit and vegetables and then there was this candle shop full of colorful displays of the owner’s craft. Although the gaudily colored candles weren’t to my taste, it was interesting watching the young man carve and create the colorful strips.
Last but not least was the mask shop. As it was late, the shop was already closed, otherwise we would have been in there looking to buy one home.