The Balon in Turin has existed since 1857, it has always been the historic flea market of the first capital of Italy.

Si svolge ogni sabato in uno dei quartieri più suggestivi della città e, ogni seconda domenica del mese, va in scena l’edizione più grande, con oltre 350 espositori, chiamata Gran Balon.

The Balon market has always taken place in the Borgo Dora district and extends between Borgo Dora, Lanino, Mameli and Canale Molassi streets.

The curved shape of the buildings in Via Borgo Dora is not accidental, but is the mark left by the “Canale dei Molassi”, which flowed through this village until 1962.

The entire district of Turin, due to the fame of the historic flea market, is now commonly called “Balon” by the people of Turin. A tradition that has shaped the entire area which today hosts dozens of antique dealers’ shops, reuse shops, workshops of artisan restorers, framers, all interspersed with delicious restaurants, typical Turin bars and multi-ethnic venues, given that the neighborhood is one of the most multicultural in Turin.

It is the right place in Turin if you are a lover of antiques, vintage and everything that involves reuse, restoration, vintage objects and, not to be underestimated, a youthful, informal environment.

It’s a place of the soul – to mention James Hillman – where you can rummage through a stall side by side with the city’s famous notary or TV or movie star in search of art objects, as well as with the common person who exchanges extra pieces from their collection with something that completes it.

mercatino delle pulci Balon Torino cinema stampe pubblicitarie riuso riciclo

From Comencini’s film – La Donna della Domenica – Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Louis Trintignant at the Balon. Inspector Santamaria is played by Marcello Mastroianni.

Cinema, in fact, has taken many inspirations from this place and filmed some scenes there, including how can we forget the scene from “La Donna della Domenica” by Luigi Comencini in which Marcello Mastroianni and Jacqueline Bisset investigate by browsing among the second-hand dealers’ stalls of the “flea market” of the time or the one in which the French actress is together with Jean-Louis Trintignant sitting in the depor of one of the many beautiful bars that populate the neighborhood.

The Balon has made great strides since Fruttero and Lucentini described in the book of the same name on which the film was based: «Beyond the cavernous entrance hall full of broken furniture there was a large open-air clearing, where the furniture still more broken and unusable, out of order refrigerators, collapsing shelves and rotting shop counters, crates and boxes of every kind, were piled up in long rows under rusty sheet metal shelters. They were there mainly waiting to be demolished, but entry was free for potential buyers.”

The Balon, today, resembles a small Mont Martre and is one of the trendiest places in Turin both for hipsters looking for an environment suited to them and for lovers of everything that is reusable and can beautify the house, the garden or , why not, enrich our culture.

Stampe storiche mercatino delle pulci Torino Balon Gran Balon

The cover of the book by the two Turin authors

But where does this curious name for a flea market come from?

The etymology of the toponym “Borgo del balloon” is very ancient and can be traced back to multiple interpretations including the Piedmontese term balon which means “ball”.

However, since medieval times this area was known as burgum ad pillonos, from which the name “Borgo del Pallone” could have been derived, by distorting it. In the seventeenth century, in fact, there appears to have been a place called “Osteria del Pallone” which may have been a meeting place for people attracted to the village for recreational reasons.

According to what is reported on a French topographical map dating back to the period of the Siege of Turin in 1706, the “Borgo del Pallone” was already translated into Faubourg de Balon. This testimony, among other things, would deny the most widespread and imaginative interpretation of the origin of the name, which would like to trace it back to the first take-off of a hot air balloon, an event that only occurred several decades later.

The hypothesis of a purely popular origin linked to recreational activities could also be found in findings attributable to the beginning of the 20th century, deriving the toponym from the habit of the workers of the nearby tanneries who found themselves betting at a sferisterio and bowling alley, of which only the facade remains in nearby via Cigna, bearing the writing “Giuoco Bocce”. The origin of the name could coincide with the Piedmontese saying Andoma a gieuge al balon (or: “let’s go and bet on the elastic ball match”).

Balon mercatino delle pulci torino antiquariato riuso remade

A glimpse of the magical village during the Balon

The antiques market of the City of Turin, both in the edition of every Saturday (the Balon) as well as that of every second Sunday of the month (Gran Balon) has been organized since 1987 by the Association of the Balon Traders ( to which you can refer for information, to exhibit and for all the collateral events that animate the Borgo.

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