The architect Giorgio Polli built the ex-Pescheria Centrale in 1913, in Riva Nazario Sauro in front of Piazza Venezia. Due to the structure that resembles a church, it is called by the people of Trieste “Santa Maria del Guato”, a typical local fish.
The construction of brick walls interspersed with large windows integrates with the neoclassical style of the buildings overlooking the banks.
The sea water tank was contained by the bell tower. Bas-relief sculptures of the prow of fishing bragozzi and crustaceans adorn the facade and recall the function of the building.
Inside, the large liberty style hall, surrounded by large perimeter walls which, with huge iron windows, open at intervals on the sea and the shores, housed a noisy market.
The fish auctions were held on the pronaos, while the retail market took place inside, where the fish was displayed on large Karst marble counters.
The catch was mainly brought from the prow of the bragozzi from Gradesi and Chioggiotti moored at the adjacent pier. The façade covered in bricks with prominences in white stone and adorned with bas-relief sculptures of a marine character gives the structure a “veiling” of the Venetian style that well combines the location of the building between the quays of the dock and the front of the neoclassical buildings of the Rive .
Currently the building houses the Salone degli Incanti, a multipurpose exhibition center that hosts events, exhibitions and cultural events. The name derives from the auction sale of the fish that took place on the pronaos of the former fish market.
In 1974 Francis Ford Coppola chooses the former fish shop in Trieste to shoot the scene of the arrival of Vito Andolini from Corleone, in the film “The Godfather”, at Ellis Island in New York.