Follow the shopping carts to the Lido market

As we pulled into the train station in Venice, the sun broke through the clouds promising us a respite from the rain.  Once we figured out the water bus system (conveniently located on the canal immediately in front of the train station), we managed to find our apartment without too many wrong turns along the way.  The apartment, located on the third floor of another old building without elevators, was everything we had hoped for.  It was in the heart of the historic district in the Cannaregio neighbourhood, just a five minute walk from the Rialto bridge and within walking distance to all the major tourist sights.  Each of the two bedrooms had two large, shuttered windows overlooking the canal. It had a large living room, dining room, kitchen and even a balcony on which was a washing machine and clothes line from which to hang our laundry – just like the locals.

We settled into our apartment, and then explored the neighbourhood; we were delighted to find the following amenities within a couple of blocks radius: a grocery store, an outdoor fruit and vegetable stand, a cheese shop, bakery, and a unique wine store that sold wine in volume by the litre.  In this shop, the wine was stored in an array of large carboys from which you selected your variety, after sampling it, of course.  The shop keeper then poured the desired amount into a recycled plastic water bottle.  We picked up a couple of bottles on the first day but our enthusiasm for this concept waned as we realized the wine was not as good as we had hoped.  No worries, as there were several wine shops in our neighbourhood as well as wine in the local grocery store.

Our first full day in Venice was spent visiting the nearby islands of Lido, Murano and Burano.  We purchased a 12-hour water bus pass for 16 Euro each and we were determined to get our money’s worth.

Lido is an 11 km long sandbar, home to about 20,000 residents.  It is renowned for its beaches which became popular way back in 1857 when the first bathing facility was set up. This was the first time that anything similar had been seen in Europe. Soon, it became “The Lido”, meaning a beach resort. Major beach facilities, hotels and private summer villas have remained the heart of the island that is still known as the “Golden Island”.  But we were not going to see the beaches, we wanted to visit the local market held every Tuesday morning.

We followed the ladies with the shopping carts right to the market.

View of Venice from the Lido market.

Water bus on the Grand Canal

Water buses travel slowly along the Grand Canal offering plenty of opportunity to sightsee along the way.  As we inched our way closer to Lido, the tourists thinned out and were replaced by little old Italian ladies with their shopping carts.  I made the observation that all we needed to do once we arrived in Lido was follow the ladies with the shopping carts.  And that is exactly what we did, practically running after them to hop onto a regular bus, and then jumping off at the last minute as they quickly exited without warning.  And so we found the market, a bustling affair full of locals out doing their regular shopping at the food stalls.  We saw lots of clothes, shoes, and household goods too.  It was as much fun to look at the merchandise as it was to people watch.

Video:  Taking the water bus along the Grand Canal

Next stop was Murano renowned the world over for its hand blown glass.  It is a series of small islands connected by bridges about 1.5 km north of Venice.  It measures about 1.5 km across with a population of just over 5,000.  We were taking full advantage of the glorious day of sunshine – our first since we stepped foot in Italy.   After a couple of hours meandering along the canals, admiring the exquisite works of art and jewellery all made from glass, we stumbled upon some glass makers making intricate pieces for a huge chandelier. It was fascinating to watch these artistic craftsmen at work.


The final stop of the day was the island of Burano, also accessed via water bus.  This island is renowned for its brightly coloured houses and lacework.  The colours of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development so if your house needs to be painted, you must make a request to the government who will then let you know what colour you can use.  We ended our busy day with a relaxing glass of white wine on a patio basking in the fading sunshine.

Category: Europe, Italy
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2 Responses
  1. sonja says:

    ah….to be back in italy on vacation instead of being up to my eyeballs in issue after issue…..

    hope you are enjoy the farm…looking forward to hearing all about it!

    weekend looks great so mike and i plan on getting out on our bikes. he started cycling this week and i will start cycling to work two times per week next week.


    • christina says:

      HI Son,
      Can you believe I’m still catching up on our trip! We did so much in such a short period of time I can’t believe it. I’ve got two more postings to finish and then I’ll start sharing details about our stay on the farm in Tuscany. What I’ll say for now is that we are having the time of our lives. We had a bit of a rocky start, but this week has been fabulous. We had a cooking class today with a little Italian lady who is 80 something years old. We made hand made pasta – picchi (not sure how to spell it) Chris took some video of it which we’ll share soon 🙂 We’ve made some new friends with a couple from Australia who have already invited us to stay with them in Sydney (maybe we’ll ring in the new year with them), and they’re planning some weekend excursions with us too. We have just hit it off with them so well, and I think (hope) it will be an enduring friendship.
      Enjoy your cycling!