Turin offers a tempting mix of shopping opportunities that you will not want to miss. Whatever your preferences and whatever will entice you to splash your cash, you can find something to cater for all tastes here: from the artisans, shops & markets.
Shops and Artisans Under the porticos of via Roma you will come across many of the high-end designer emporiums the city has to offer while via Lagrange, via Po and via Garibaldi cater more generally for everyday fashions and accessories. Wander away from the main streets though and you will find a myriad of streets full of chic boutiques, funky design shops, bohemian fashions, confectioners, artisan workshops, art galleries, antique shops, retro stores, homewares and music and specialist bookstores. Many of the city’s artisan workshops are to be found off the beaten track, discreetly tucked away inside the courtyards of the city’s baroque buildings and many of them can only be visited by appointment. However, no need to despair as there are regular artisan markets around the city where you can purchase items and also pick up a business card for future reference.
Some of the areas worth exploring for sourcing individual and unique pieces are:
- Piazza Gran Madre di Dio for local designer boutiques and handcrafted jewellery items.
- Il Centro, The area south of via Po including via San Massimo, via Maria Vittoria, via Cavour, and via della Rocca, for textiles, antiques and fine jewellery.
- Galleria Subalpina for rare art and antique books, manuscripts, old maps and art prints.
- Via Barbaroux, via dei Mercanti and via San Tommaso, south of via Garibaldi for art galleries, crafts and ethnic fashions.
- Quadrilatero, for funky boutiques and quirky furniture shops.
- Borgo Dora for antiques and restoration services.
- San Salvario for ethnic shops, leather goods and art galleries.
- Borgo Medioevale in Parco Valentino for old prints and medieval memorabilia.
The big brand name and international shops usually open from 9.30am to 19.30pm. Smaller shops and boutiques may close at lunchtimes at around 12.30am/13.00pm and reopen again in the afternoons around 15.00pm. Be aware that during August, smaller shops may also be closed for the summer holiday period. However, the bigger stores remain open.
Markets Turin serves us well with craft, local produce, food, clothing, vintage and antiques markets with Mercato di Porta Palazzo (Piazza della Repubblica) claiming to be the largest open-air market Europe has to offer. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it is at the heart of traditional and ethnic Turin, reflecting a rich, diverse mix of sights, sounds, tastes and smells. Away from Piazza della Repubblica, and down towards Borgo Dora, you come across Il Balon, a weekly antiques and second-hand market which weaves its way through the cobbled streets and down towards the river Dora. On the second Sunday of every month, there’s Il Gran Balon, known locally as ‘Baloon’. This mega version of the weekly second-hand market attracts sellers from all over Piedmont and also France.
For local produce and artisan offerings, Piazza Palazzo di Città hosts Mercatino delle Erbe on the first Sunday of the month. Great for wines, cheeses, fresh pasta, biscuits, chocolate, plants and wooden crafts.
If you would like to source the latest fashions and more individual pieces, the open-air markets at Crocetta, Corso Palestro and Piazza Benefica (Giardino Luigi Martini) may throw up just what you’ve been looking for and you may well find a bargain. During holidays, such as around Christmas and Easter, you can stumble across artisan, craft, local produce, antiques and vintage markets in many of the piazzas and streets around the centre. Hotspots are usually around via Roma, Piazza Carlo Felice, via Garibaldi, Piazza Carignano, via Battisti, Piazza Carlo Alberto, Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Gran Madre di Dio and Cortile del Maglio in Borgo Dora.
When During weekdays, markets are generally open from 7.30am/8.00am to 13.00pm/14.00pm. Saturday trading hours are longer with most markets closing at around 19.30pm.