Fresh local fruit and vegetables, Venice, Italy. Price Check: a

Price Check: a Venice Shopping List

We usually take our prices for Price Check from the local supermarket, or supermercato, regardless of what things cost at the local market or mercato, because supermarkets generally provide a better yardstick for comparing prices between different cities and countries, and sometimes supermarkets may be your only choice for getting started, especially if you arrive on a Sunday night. But our Venice shopping list is different.

In Venice, however, the fresh produce is far cheaper at the markets at Rialto and the Monday organic market near Piazzale Roma than the supermarkets, sometimes by a couple of euros per kilo. The organic market even displays a blackboard comparing the prices of their products with the more expensive supermarket prices. So for our Venice Price Check we have gone with market prices for fresh produce.

If you arrive in Venice on a Sunday night, you are better off waiting until the next morning to buy your fresh food, although the Rialto’s fish market is closed on Monday because the fishermen have Sunday off, so you’ll need to wait until Tuesday for your fresh seafood. (More on the seafood markets, which we visited with a Venetian restaurateur and chef in another post.)

The Rialto Markets are not only a fun place to shop – for the vibrant colours, the fresh food smells, the peoplewatching, the local insight etc – it’s also the best place to shop for the quality and range of produce and prices. If you’re renting a place in Venice, head to the markets around 9am and watch where the little old ladies shop and go there too!

There are supermarkets, small and large, scattered all over Venice, along with delicatessens or negozio di gastronomia which specialize in delicious cheeses, salamis, cured meats, olives, olive oils, tapenades, spices and so on, and they vary dramatically in terms of quality and prices. The best specialty shops are located around the Rialto markets. Small supermarkets are located all over Venice and the cheapest is Billa.

One of the things that we like about the supermarkets in Venice (and Italy more generally) is that they sell fresh pasta (look in the cold section) that is comparable in price to dried pasta but far tastier. Like Spain, they will also have an excellent range of cheeses and cold cuts in case you can’t get to a delicatessen or are on a tight budget.

The Rialto Markets are open from around 8.30am until around 2.30pm, with different stalls keeping different hours. The Monday Organic Market doesn’t properly get going until around noon and stays open for just a few hours; 1pm is the best time to arrive, as everything is set up by then – any later and you’ll be fighting over whatever’s fresh and in season with Venetian workers shopping on their lunch break.

Supermarkets open from around 9am until 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, give or take half an hour. Some small supermarkets close for lunch for a couple of hours, while the larger supermarkets open on Sundays but their hours are reduced.

Please do let us know if this list is helpful or if there are things you’d like to see included/excluded. We’re finding it a fun and interesting exercise and we hope you are too.

Venice shopping list

1.5 litre water €0.50 £0.43 US$0.64
1 litre milk €1.10 £0.95 US$1.40
Bottle of local wine €3.50 £3.01 US$4.46
Birra Moretti (beer) €0.70 £0.60 US$0.89
100g Nescafe €4.00 £3.45 US$5.10
250 g Lavazza €2.70 £2.33 US$3.44
Lipton’s tea 50 bags €2.85 £2.45 US$3.63
1 kg sugar €1.89 £1.63 US$2.41
Jar of apricot jam €3.50 £3.10 US$4.46
1 loaf of bread €0.90 £0.78 US$1.15
250g quality butter €2.90 £2.50 US$3.70
200g Asiago Stravecchio cheese €3.50 £3.01 US$4.46
500 ml olive oil €2.80 £2.41 US$3.57
1 dozen eggs €2.50 £2.15 US$3.19
1 kilo tomatoes €2.00 £1.72 US$2.55
1 kilo onions €1.20 £1.03 US$1.53
1 kilo apples €2.20 £1.90 US$2.81
250 g pistachios €4.00 £3.45 US$5.10
700ml Aperol (Aperitivo) €7.49 £6.45 US$9.55
Total: €50.23 £43.35 US$64.04

There are 7 comments

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  1. Michael

    I was very surprised how affordable this price list is compared to what I expected.

    Everyone said Venice was outrageously overpriced but I imagine that applies more to the restaurants than to everyday fresh produce prices.

    How did the fish and meat prices compare to other locations?

  2. Terence Carter

    Thanks for your comment. Your right about the restaurants, particularly those that just cater to tourists and charge crazy prices for some pasta with a couple of prawns in it. Much of the fresh fruit and vegetables are from the local islands and is brilliant. Seafood is reasonably priced considering the excellent quality however many locals told us to buy meat infrequently as it’s not local and not supporting the local economy, however, it too was not overly expensive. I think that one of the reasons prices weren’t too outrageous is that it’s only really locals that are cooking (there are not too many holiday rentals) so the shops need to be reasonable about prices.

  3. Michael

    Thanks for responding Terence.

    Given the (relatively) reasonable prices for groceries in Venice, and the beauty of the city, would it be a place you would consider living in for an extended period of time? Say, several months up to a year?

  4. Michael

    Sounds like you two like it there!

    What would monthly rent be for a nicely furnished place in Venice (like the one you featured) with a view / terrace or private garden, in your opinion? Is it best to work with a local broker as Internet listings seem largely catered to short-term tourists.

    Thanks again.

  5. Lara Dunston

    Hi Michael – just thought I’d add to what Terence said… the first time we ever stayed in Venice it was many years ago and we rented a little studio apartment in an old palazzo overlooking a tiny canal for $60 a night. It was almost impossible to find a hotel for that price. I found it through a real estate agent I found online as there were no holiday rental sites back then. When we left, the countess who owned the property said to go to her directly next time and she would have heavily discounted it if we wanted to stay a while. If you want to stay a month or six months or longer, my advice would be to look for real estate agents online and if you can’t find what you want to book a cheap holiday rental for a week and when you get there start visiting the real estate agents and also look for ‘for rent’/’rooms to rent’ signs on old palazzi. Best of luck!

  6. Michael

    Thanks Lara.

    That’s exactly what I’ll do. Stay for 2 weeks and try to find a local broker who is willing to work with me.

    What’s the longest period of time you two stayed in Venice, and would you consider it one of your favorite places to spend an extended amount of time in the world?

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