Mercatino delle “Robe da Mar”

One of the most distinctive and beloved markets in Venice, featuring a buzzing, friendly atmosphere and stalls stacked full of all sorts of bizarre and rare curiosities.

Known and loved by Venetian locals, this market is located in the less touristy area of Via Garibaldi. The Castello district oozes a similar charm to flea markets; it is enticing, beautifully battered and a little rough around the edges.

“Robe de Mar” takes place every year in October, traditionally in conjunction with the Venice Marathon. It also opens on a few other Sundays throughout the year. You can expect to find second-hand items, vintage wares, collectors items and even crafts. Scour the stalls full of retro glass vases, original paintings, kitsch trinkets and wooden jewelery boxes. Even though the market is a little further afield than most tourist areas, it is still easily accessible; you can take the water bus lines 1, 4.1 and 4.2.

As you’ve ventured over to Via Garibaldi, the heart of the Castello district, why not wander the streets and soak up the unique atmosphere. The area is renowned for its quirky shops and bazaars selling objects related to fishing or the ocean, as well as many interesting pubs and restaurants that are always filled out with eccentric locals. Be sure to check out the Snack Bar Castello, which is the ideal place for a midday snack to fuel you for a day of serious shopping and bartering. You will also get incredible value for your money, as Castello is much cheaper than other districts in Venice.

With that in mind, you can easily snap up some vintage bargains too. Vendors are open to negotiations, and happy to meet in the middle with a reasonable price that you are both content with. “Robe de Mar” is one of the most distinctive and beloved markets in Venice, yet it has managed to remain under the radar of many tourists. Not many travelers that are unfamiliar with Venice will wander further than St Mark’s Square, but if you take the leap and escape the bustling crowd, you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.

Parts of Via Garibaldi are run down and slightly disheveled, but that adds to the classic Italian appeal of the area. “Robe de Mar” has a buzzing, friendly atmosphere and the stalls are stacked full of all sorts of bizarre and rare curiosities.

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