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I have a site collection with certain permissions and I want for some people to have access to a folder inside a list (or to an entire list if necessary) without having to authenticate.

Is this possible in SharePoint 2010?

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You could, assuming the web application is set up to allow anonymous access. However that might cause a lot of headaches with management of permissions. It might be worth setting up a separate web application geared for anon access to handle that type of content and use PowerShell or content migration to move it from the restricted site to the publishing site.

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