Only a few years ago, Venice was a city of neighborhood alimentari or grocery stores, cheese shops, meat markets, and produce vendors. Supermarkets were few and far between. Times have changed, and today you’ll supermarkets in most of Venice’s sestieri or districts. That’s bad news for traditionalists, but it’s good news if you’re a foreign tourist who’s intimidated by unfamiliar shopping customs and language barriers. What’s more, shopping at a supermarket can be a time-saver when you’re stocking the refrigerator of your vacation apartment or browsing for snacks to keep in your hotel room.
Of the supermarket chains in Venice, our favorite is Conad (formerly Billa), which had four stores in the city center the last time we checked: One on the Zattere, facing the Giudecca Canal in Dorsoduro’ another on the Strada Nova in Cannaregio; a third near the Frari church; and a fourth on the Rio Marin. Conad also has a supermarket on the Lido’s main business street, near the Lido vaporetto and bus station.
When buying produce, you’ll often need to put on a disposable plastic glove, fill a plastic bag, and weigh the bag on an electronic scale that has icons representing various fruits and vegetables. Wait for the scale to print a price label, then stick the label on the plastic bag.
- At deli counters (or in independent meat and dairy shops), you buy cold cuts and cheeses by the etto or 100 grams, which is just under a quarter of a pound. For example, if you want 200 grams of prosciutto, point at the ham and ask for “due etti.”
This year we have discovered the Coop. Small but has necessities. Also, Rialto Market for fresh veggies and fish. Tonight we had fresh white fish fillets and fresh asparagus and the best st aw berries I have ever had!