Inaugurated on April 13th, and from this event onwards, going to the market for the people of Turin will never be quite the same. In Porta Palazzo, which has been home to Europe’s largest outdoor market since 1835, the new Mercato Centrale Torino (Turin Central Market in English) was opened, based upon a successful format already launched in 2014 in Florence and in 2016 in Rome. Now with the Mercato Centrale in Porta Palazzo, the already rich social experiences on offer in the outdoor market are expanded, where cultures, flavors, traditions and colors have been mixing every morning for almost 200 years.
From this moment on, the buying of fruits and vegetables among the stalls that speak all the languages of the world, the search for the best offer, the freshest fish, the trusted cheese counter, will be just the beginning. Waiting for you within what was once the Centro Palatino (Palatine Center in English), the building designed by Massimiliano Fuksas in 2005, is a real gourmet food and wine experience in a stylish, modern setting. It is the ideology of the contemporary market: the effort to search for a form that enhances the cultural, environmental and enogastronomic heritage. This project seeks to develop and reinforce the concept of the direct relationship between producers and consumers and to make available to the people for immediate consumption the fresh and natural products of the market, albeit cleverly transformed by skilled hands.
Inside the Mercato Centrale Torino, various artisan shops have been opened. Some are food stands from high-end restaurants already well-known in the city like Mare Nostrum for fish, Alberto Marchetti for ice cream, and Farmacia del Cambio, which will be the only restaurant with its own reservable tables. Whereas others come with the proposal of street food, such as Trapizzino by Stefano Callegari, the Girarrosto, The Sicilian Specialties, Il Fritto … and in the middle there is a huge bar/cafeteria/brewery. We, for a first experience, relied on the fish of Valerio Lo Russo and went with a nice fried mixed seafood dish and a very tasty IPA beer. I assure you that we left extremely satisfied and enthusiastic and we will definitely return to try some more.
On the second floor there are the clothing shops, already present from the previous use of the Palafuksas, and a cooking school. There is also a new lounge bar, “the Distillery” that has been opened with tables facing the floor-to-ceiling windows that give a spectacular view of the square. The location lends itself well to evening aperitifs and dinners and I am sure that it will immediately become a trendy hub for the cool outings of the Turinese and tourists alike. In fact on the third floor there is a space that will be used for events and shows, making a rich proposal for an artistic-cultural background.
In the basement, however, it will soon be possible to visit the antique eighteenth to nineteenth-century ice storage rooms: large ice deposits that descended in a spiral, created to keep cool the food being sold in the market nearby. The ice formed by cramming snow into the circular compartments through open drains in the roof. The floor was sloped towards the center, allowing the water to drain away as the ice melted. Probably there were also rooms suitable for hosting the activities involving the preservation and trade of ice as well as the preservation of foodstuffs. It is an original way to immerse yourself in the history of this place, Porta Palazzo, which in reality is not a neighborhood of Turin, but only this restricted area containing the market and the surrounding streets.
The name derives from the fact that in 1701 the Porta Palazzo (Palace Gate in English) was inaugurated in this location being the monumental gate that led from the north to the City Palace. During the period of Napoleon’s domination of Turin, he demolished the gate as part of his efforts to dismantle all of the city’s defensive structures, but the name stuck and hence the square is still known today as Porta Palazzo. In addition to this, the fascinating story of Porta Palazzo also includes the internal migrations from southern Italy throughout the last century, and from the 1980s onwards, the new immigration from the Maghreb countries, South America, Albania, Romania and China. Thus Porta Palazzo has transformed into a truly multi-ethnic zone of Turin, where colours and smells of different origins are mixed, where cultures and traditions merge and give rise to a real “melting pot“, an engine of energy.
Porta Palazzo, the multi-ethnic heart of Turin, to visit and experience … and now with the Mercato Centrale Torino, it has become even more attractive: a must for everyone!
Address: Piazza della Repubblica, 10152 Torino TO
Hours: Mon – Sat 7am – 2pm; there is no market on Sundays
Mercato Centrale Torino (Turin Central Market)
Address: Piazza della Repubblica, 25, 10152 Torino TO
Hours: Mon – Sun, 8am – Midnight