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11 Luglio 2019

An afternoon at the Gran Balôn

If you are looking for a different Sunday, once a month you are welcome to get lost among the beauties of the most picturesque market of Turin

Mario Acciaro (translation by Chiara Gariglio)

Gran Balon

Among the streets that from Porta Palazzo go down to Dora river you will find one of the most spectacular and busy attractions of Turin. This loud explosion of colors, scents and tastes takes place every second Sunday of the month as it is known as Gran Balôn (pronounced as “Balùn”). It arouses the fantasy of visitors who pour into via Lanino, via Mameli, via Canale Carpanini and via Borgo Dora, looking for the treasures that hide among the overloaded stalls and the dusty showcases.
Being curious is usually enough to be absorbed by that orderly chaos and to discover different cultures and traditions that blend to create this colorful and spectacular mix.

Gran Balon was created in the 80s on the wake of the Balôn, the old Turin flea market founded in 1857. This weekly event once known as “duster market”, today looks like a secondhand market, enriched by ethnic craftsmanship. Taking via Mameli from piazza della Repubblica you will see the first stalls, always crowded by the constant flow of visitors.
On the left, if you take via Borgo Dora, you will get to the heart of Balon, with a series of second-hand dealers and artisans and a great number of loud street vendors that will invite you to look into their goods. However, this market will also wheat your appetite with restaurants and wine shops that face the street and offer Piedmont typical dishes and much more. Low houses and adorned balconies tell old stories to the visitors, who find themselves in a new and exciting place.

The way continues down to the river, where the Cortile del Maglio hides another spot crowded with sellers and buyers, who are busy with the fine art of bargain, a spread and shared procedure among the streets of Balôn. The variety of objects offered attracts many different types of customers and enthusiasts of anything, especially vintage and antiques, but you might also find design objects or simple consumer goods.
Going back to via Canale, you will find on your left a garden full of flowers and depots full of antique furniture, with the usual background talking of street vendors. Via Lanino will give you the last piece of Balôn before ending along the walls of the Cottolengo hospital.

This interesting meeting of streets offers a unique experience to the visitor just a few steps from the city center: the ideal place for a warm spring Sunday.
Whether you are from Turin or just a tourist, Gran Balon is a typical and not-to-be-missed perspective of our city. It is a social event that contributes to the creation of a network of relationships well rooted in the territory and provides a place for cultural and generational exchange.


In collaboration with Study in Torino


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