The fish markets in Venice are a busy place in the mornings and offer great people-watching opportunities. Traditional markets nearly always make for potentially excellent subject matter as they not only contain such a variety of objects and colours, but they also often contain some real characters. The markets are open until around five in the afternoon, by which time things have wound down considerably and most of the vendors have either gone, or are busily in the process of packing up. Once the place has been cleared, the cleaners come in to hose it down. Fortunately, the space remains open to the public and one can still wander around after closing time.
The market building, a modestly-sized neo-gothic arcade, roughly five arches wide either side, sits on a bend in the Grand Canal, with another canal to one side, perpendicular to the main artery. It therefore offers quite a wide view from its edges, but the interior space also has a simple attractiveness to it. The red canvas awnings combine beautifully with the blue tarpaulins to create a colourful and vibrant luminosity which reflects in the wet flagstones. It is a very engaging place to visit, open or closed, and is located near to the Rialto. Indeed, it is referred to as the Rialto Market or the Campo della Pescheria.
These two shots constitute a before and after image of the markets. The chap with the cigarette certainly seemed an indomitable character with a lot of flair about him, evidenced through his choice of hat and cigarette holder. Then again, these could equally be seen as practical choices – keeping his hair off the fish and allowing him to hold his cigarette without wetting it, or covering it in squid ink, for that matter.