There are a myriad of reasons to travel by train, not least that one arrives at some of the most interesting and attractive buildings. I do not mean the rather dilapidated and run-down buildings that line the tracks at the approach to the stations, but the stations themselves. As travellers and commuters hurry through the stations I imagine that few notice the wonderful architecture that surrounds them. As an avid train traveller, I've decided to share my views of some of Europe's most beautiful stations. Today is the turn of Milan.
Milan Central Station is a grand, airy building that was inaugurated in 1931. As one of the main rail termini in Europe, the opening of the Simplon Tunnel in 1906 increased the level of traffic to such an extent that the old transit station could no longer cope. A station capable of dealing with the flow of trains and befitting of Italy was required. Mussolini saw the opportunity to create a symbol of his fascist regime that could not be ignored. The original plans were cast aside for a much grander affair. The resulting station is an elegant and expansive edifice; a mix of architectural styles with Art Deco influences very apparent. Wide stairs and escalators move you from one side of the station to the next. Walls are adorned with sculptures and other decoration evoking the Roman empire. I relished the echo my footsteps made on the marble floor beneath the domed ceilings. Winged horses adorn the exterior façade that dominates the Piazza Duca d'Aosta. It is an extravagant statement of a power since lost, but an incredibly beautiful building nonetheless.
|Milan Central Station|
Source: Flickr, Author: Patrick Denker, 2007
N.B. Considerable refurbishment works have been undertaken since my last visit.