Porta Palazzo is one of the antique Roman gates entering the town. The real name is Porta Palatina. There are still some remains of the Roman walls, a statue of Emperor Augustus and the remains of the Roman theatre next to the Cathedral where the Holy Shroud is. In the area is located the Porta Palazzo Market, very crowded all the days, Saturdays in particular. They sell everything: food, toys, clothing, furniture, etc. It is a multiethnic market with people and goods from all over the world: Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, for there are many people from all those countries and continents living to Torino.
Balon is the most typical and famous street market of Torino. For a long time, natives of Torino called it ironically "Strassburg" (from strass, that means rag and burg, or village). Out of curiosity, where does the name Balon come from? Some researchers say that it comes from a deep valley existing in this area of Torino; in another version the name is ascribed at a sport ground where, during the XVI Century, people played with ball (in Piedmontese Balon). Anyway, there are notices about the market, originally of old pieces of iron, since 1735. In Balon market, twined with "Marche aux Pouces" in Paris, it's possible to find really everything: old disks, furniture and pieces of antique furniture, coins, stamps, old journals, used clothes, minerals, all sold with negotiation. Balon is open every Saturday morning and Gran Balon the second Sunday of each month. There are lots of people coming and wondering around, mainly just to see, more than to buy or sell, because it is a real happening. But you can find real expert people too, specialists in their own domains, and real antique objects, books and furniture. It is located next to Porta Palazzo, in a very fascinating area. The atmosphere is kind of aristocratic too, but very pleasant and relaxing.
Porta Palazzo is the popular name of Piazza della Repubblica and refers to the gate erected there in the 18th century to crown architect Juvarra's success in the urban restructuring of Torino. The gate was demolished in the early 19th century and a project was proposed to build a square that linked the city centre with the suburbs towards the Dora (Torino's second river after the Po).
"Porta Palazzo" today refers to the markets that take place there. You can see the structures that hosted the fish and the food market (built in 1836), as well as the padiglione delle Officine Savigliano (1916, it should be the one in the photo).
However, "Porta Palazzo" also means immigrants who live in bad conditions and do not integrate into the Italian community. When I went there with my mother, it was late afternoon, the market had finished and we saw some frightening faces, so we didn't stay there for a long time.
Il Gran Balon is a large street market that occurs on the second Sunday of the month. Up to 200 stall owners come to the area just north of Porta Palazzo (Piazza della Republica at the top of Via Milano) to sell junk, and lots of it! It is worth a wander just to see some of the crap they are selling, but don't expect to find any beautiful antiques. Keep an eye on your wallet and get lost in the crowd.
In the winter grab a bag of roasted chestnuts to munch on while you browse.
The Gran Balôn, the monthly marked where you can find nice antiques.
I used to live close to this marked.
Normally it's a regular market, but one sunday a month antique dealers from the area come to sell their goods.
You can find a lot of beautiful antiques as well as junk.