Do you love vintage? Are you searching for the best Italian flea markets and you do not know where exactly they are located? Every Saturday, in Porta Palazzo, Turin, you can find a nice flea market. But every second Sunday of each month, Torino hosts a bigger flea market called Gran Balon. It takes place from 8 am to 6 pm and is an amazing gathering for collectors, antique lovers or fashion addicts. Here you can find beautiful accessories at incredible prices. With more than 300 stalls, 50 shops, bars, and restaurants, this is definitely the place to be if you visit Turin at the beginning of the month.
How to reach it
If you are in the centre of Torino, you can easily reach it from Piazza Castello, heading to Piazza della Repubblica. Cross the square and on the other side, behind Mercato Centrale take Via Goffredo Mameli or Via Vittorio Andreis and just follow the stands and crowd.
If you are in another district, take the buses 11, 18, and 51 and jump off in Borgo Dora.
If you are coming by car from the motorway, take the exit Corso Regina and drive until Pizza della Repubblica. You will find some parking spaces there. Remember that Blu lines on the street are free on Sunday, but you must pay in multilevel parking lots. If you need help on how to park, here is a post.
A bit of History
This market dates back to the end of the 18th century. Borgata Balon was the name of this district derived from a particular habit of the workers who, during the break hours, use to come here to gamble their few earnings in a particular game with balls. In fact, Balon in our dialect means “ball”.
This area was also the production center outside the Turin city walls. Traditionally, this is the place where immigrants have come for centuries to find a job and settle down. That’s why in the nearby Piazza della Repubblica you can find the biggest open market in Europe, Porta Palazzo, and here the flea market every Saturday and the big flea market every second Sunday of the month.
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What can you find
Everything. From books to jewelry, spices, furniture, and posters. Shops are all open, you can get in even to take a look. Do not be shy.
Some workshops are inside courtyards, so bring with you the spirit of the adventurer and walk through gates and doorways, you might never know what treasure hides at the end of a passage!
Where to eat
The district is pinpointed with little restaurants, bars, and delis, so it is really easy to find a place to eat on a budget. I suggest booking a table as soon as you arrive and then visiting the market. In this case, it will be easier to find a place at lunchtime.
You can also buy street food and eat outside or, head towards Galleria Umberto Primo, on the opposite side of Piazza della Repubblica and have a nice brunch at one of my favorite spots in town, Avocuddle Cafe.