Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Torino Travel Guide: Porto Palazzo

The Porto Palazzo Market in Turin's city center is the largest open-air market in all of Europe
which makes it a labyrinth of food stalls to get lost in. It is also the most ethnically diverse
market in Turin, perfect for those harder to find and more unique items. Porto Palazzo is centered
in Piazza della Repubblica, only around the corner from the 1st century Roman ruins of Porta Palatina, the gate that was a major entrance to this once walled city. A rainbow of fruits and vegetables signal the seasons and cheese and bread aromas fill the air but there is so much more than food here.
Food stalls ramble into clothing, new and used, luggage, perfumes, kitchen necessities, and flowers.
Then there are the black iron and glass buildings. Chose to enter one of the several indoor parts of
this market and you will find the sights, and smells, of the fish and meat vendors. This is where you
will find whole swordfish on display, entire slabs of beef sliced into fillets right before your eyes,
and all the lovely dried and cured prosciutto and salami that Italy is so famous for. It is hard to choose
between the dozens of busy fish mongers and butchers but my advice is to just stop at one that catches your eye.
 The market is considerably cheaper than a typical Turin grocery store. This is a great reason to arrive
early and pick from the freshest foods for your dinner or to make a picnic to eat at the nearby
Royal Gardens (Giardini Reali). Each Saturday Porto Palazzo expands even more when a flea market
is added called the Balòn and the second Sunday of every month is the Gran Balòn where the flea market includes antique dealers.
Another part of the market experience is the vendor "shouting". With so many sellers there is
hefty competition. The food vendors shout out calls to entice you to their stalls. To you and
me what might sound like like a traveling circus caller shouting, "Step right up, step right up
see the amazing bearded lady", the Italian market version is more like, "Signori e signore, scegliere
scegliere, prego prego, fresco fresco!", (Ladies and gentlemen, choose choose, welcome welcome, fresh fresh). On your first trip to this market several people shouting at you might be overwhelming but this is the
Torinèsi way of attracting your business. After a few minutes you will feel truly immersed into everyday Italian culture. Enjoy it!
Porto Palazzo
Piazza della Repubblica
M-F: Morning to Noon
Sat: All Day
Sun: Closed (2nd Sunday of every month holds the Gran Balòn but not the food mark
Hotel Recommendation:
NH Hotels: Santo Stefano
Via Porta Palatina, 19. 10122 Torino. Turin (Italy)
Tel. +39 011 5223311

1 comment:

LindyLouMac said...

Oh boy this market looks fabulous and so much bigger and better looking than any of the humble ones we have round here. The advantages of city living I suppose.