Grand Torino: why the ‘cacophonous and intoxicating’ Italian city is a must-see

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Roman ruins, art nouveau and industrial heritage add a patina of reality to underrated Turin, which feels more worn in than worn out

The Porta Palazzo, Europe’s biggest open market, sits on the Piazza della Repubblica, Turin’s biggest square. The market is open six days a week and its hundreds of stalls attract thousands of visitors.

The enormous octagonal piazza is criss-crossed by tram lines and usually clogged by delivery vans, empty pallets, full boxes of fruit and vegetables, and tourists taking photos. It’s a cacophonous, intoxicating place full of vibrant colours and smells, shoppers jostling, and the dissonant sounds of city traffic, competing hawkers and many languages. It makes a great introduction to Turin because historically it has been where many of the city’s new arrivals – in previous centuries from the south of the country and more recently from Africa and Asia – have begun their new lives in this one-time capital of Italy.

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