The first Fontego dei Tedeschi was probably built by the Republic between 1222 and 1225 in the area of San Bartolomeo overlooking the Grand Canal.
The location appears strongly connoted by the port nature of the site, as a maritime terminal of the great highways of Alemagna.
Little is known about this first building, it was certainly in Byzantine style, with two floors, and had a kitchen and a salting room for fish. On two sides at least it had ample scope: the one on the Grand Canal and the other on the Rio di San Giovanni Crisostomo, for the rest it was suffocated by the calli and other buildings that oppressed it and disturbed its activity.
Its function was to serve as an obligatory place of rest, accommodation and storage of merchandise for merchants from beyond the Alps, but it was above all a place for the exchange of goods from the East and those from Northern Europe, in the tradition that he saw Venice as a place of commercial and financial intermediation.
An economic-commercial center therefore within the realtina area, the physical and ideal center of gravity of the city, a place of convergence of the commercial interests of the Republic.
The building was severely damaged by a fire in April 1318, after which it was decided to rebuild not only the destroyed part, but to expand the whole building.