by Stefano Tealdi

  • Italy, Germany / 2023 / 4 x 52 min
  • Documentary
  • A co-production: Stefilm International s.r.l. (Italy) / Filmproduktion (Germany) , ZDF (Germany) 
  • In association with: ARTE (France) / RSI (Switzerland)

IN THE BELLY OF …THE CITY explores the Rialto market in Venice leading us through the entire Venetian lagoon, with its giant vegetables and juicy fruit; the Ljubljana central market bringing us to the cherry orchards and the Piran salt plateauat an hour’s drive from Slovenia’s capital; Hamburg’s Isemarkt which guides us through the Altländer in Lower Saxony and the cabbage centre of Europe in the Schleswig-Holstein region. And from the 18th-century steel construction of the Halles in Dijon we discover the popular and famous foods of Burgundy. From the regions to our table through the markets.


At the Rialto market delicacies that are part of the Venetian culinary tradition are brought by boat directly from the islands of Sant'Erasmo and Le Vignole. Artichokes, giant tomatoes, jujube fruits, and the radicchio chicory come from the wetlands north of Venice, while squid, shellfish and seafood come from the other side of the lagoon: San Leonardo, Burano or even off the rocks of the Giudecca. Dry fruit and spices instead come from the far east. Established over 900 years ago, visiting the market is discovering the whole Venetian lagoon and the city’s history in a totally different way. 


Nearly a km long, the Isemarkt in Hamburg is one of the most significant bi-weekly markets the city can boost. 200 stalls full of fruit, bread, vegetables, fish, baked products and the best bonbons in town can be found under the U-Bahn viaduct. Most of the vendors are farmers and take us to where they cultivate rhubarb, grow wintery kale or harvest summer plums. The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is a real gastronomical hub collecting produce from the lower Saxony region to the Lünerburger Heathland, from Schleswig-Holstein in the north to the biodynamic farms, just out of the city limits. 


The diversity and richness of Slovenia are perfectly represented at the central market of Ljubljana: bakeries, family dairies and meat stalls offering the Carniola sausage or the Kraški pršut, a delicious, unique ham can be found on the lower level of a seminary building. Two great open spaces host the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls while on the long water-edge colonnade there is the fish market with lake water fish as well as seafood coming from the Adriatic coast, only an hour and a half away. Urban honey and freshly harvested salt also give a unique touch to this beautiful city market.


The Halles de Dijon is a huge expanse hosting over 700 stalls in 4 pavilions. Its size goes along with the variety of specialities coming from the Burgundy region. The stalls on the periphery carry the proteins – a vast selection of meats, poultry and charcuterie. Seasonal mushrooms, organic vegetables and an enormous variety of cheese are concentrated in the centre. The vendors take pride in explaining how the abbey monks make their cheese or the black currents are harvested. The light entering the steel beams makes shopping at the market a pleasure and stopping for a little snack, a must. 


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