There are realities in Venice that one would never even imagine and one of them is Santa Marta. My husband was born here and when I sent him the pictures of my morning at the market he almost cried, so surprised and happy he was to see that something in this city still hasn't changed that much and a very normal -and happy- life is still possible. A corner of peace and slow paced life, this neighbourhood has acquired magic with time.
Every Monday morning in Santa Marta there is a farmers market and, although quite far from my house, if I have time I enjoy going and always end up buying lots of food and then complaining because I have to carry it all the way back... Anyway, of all the farmers market, this is probably the biggest, with more stalls, spread in a wider area. The easiest way to get there is to hop on a vaporetto number 5.2/.1 or 6 and get off at the Santa Marta stop, while if you prefer to walk just go past the Angelo Raffaele area until you cross the wooden bridge from which you can see the male prison in Rio Tera' dei Pensieri.
It will be immediately clear that this is a widely residential area, with simpler houses, a playground for children with two swings and a seesaw, university students, bars and normal shops. You will see hordes of people proudly carrying their trolley for their weekly shopping, chatting along and catching up on things. Whatever stall you choose you can be sure the produce is good, you can buy practically everything except fish. I recommend to have a look around and buy a bit here and a bit there.
The only place selling bread is always and constantly crowded, in fact the queue was endless, so this time I confess I gave up, but it is actually worth waiting and I suggest trying the panino con l'uvetta (a bun with raisins) and the cookies with chocolate chips, so good! Then, of course, they have a very good selection of specialty breads with special flours and all types of seeds and nuts and also different pizzas and focaccias.
I bought my greens at the i&s stall from Sant' Erasmo. As you may know, Sant'Erasmo is an island located in the north side of the lagoon and this farm is known for adopting the organic farming method. I bought some kale, cabbage, radicchio and fennels and an apple to eat straight away. Lovely and sweet, delicious...
Then I stopped for some cheese at the La Capreria stall, specialised in goat's milk cheese. La Capreria is an organic farm located in Montegalda (in the province of Vicenza) where the animals are fed with organic grass grown in the nearby fields and the cheese is produced by hand using only the craftsmanship of the cheesemaker. The products are really good, I love the yogurt and the fresh cheese -today I bought a cheese similar the the Greek feta but milder-, but the seasoned and blue cheese are equally delicious, just go for whatever you feel like.
I was done, but at this market you can also buy oil, wine, apple vinegar, organic juices, poultry, meat, cured meats and flowers. Before heading home I wanted to make the most of my morning and went towards the San Nicolò dei Mendicoli Church, one of the oldest in Venice and with two facades. While walking, you will have the industrial buildings now seat of the faculty of architecture just in front of you. I just love the view and always remain amazed by how well they merge with the almost magical atmosphere of the small campo di San Nicolò dei Mendicoli.
In front of the church a well, a column with a small lion, a baptismal font, a red bench and a tree. Here time really seems to stop, so quiet and relaxing. Today, though, I won't share any historical information, instead I will tell you another story, a local curiosity. This place is known among Venetians because in the 60s and 70s a man called Rico used to live just behind the church where you can still see a fenced garden. Well, his nickname was "Rico delle scimmie" (of the monkeys) because he used to keep -at home- different undomesticated monkeys... and the people who lived in the area (like my husband) remember them well because every time they passed in the street these monkeys would jump on the fence and start screaming at them. Another Venice, really!
Anyway, if you have the time I strongly recommend to pay a visit and do some food shopping at the Santa Marta Monday Farmers Market. You will fall in love not only with the food, but with the whole atmosphere. Wander around the stalls and then explore the area, get lost, take your time and curl up in front of a cup of coffee in one of the bars. As you know, my favourite option in the area (even if, to be precise it's actually just after the imaginary line that separates Santa Marta from Angelo Raffaele) is Caco Nero, both for a tea with a piece of cake or for an easy going (but super delicious) meal, but I know that my father's friends, who live two minutes from here, go to Cambusa (in fact, it's in my to do list!).
So, don't miss the opportunity of discovering a magical area of Venice and enjoy your time in Santa Marta!
Santa Marta Market Every Monday
8:00 am- 2:00 pm
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