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Stazione Centrale di Milano
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Spa
The need to provide Milan with a more functional major passenger hub, instead of the obsolete transit station, arose at the end of the 1800s. The first bid for tender for the construction was launched in 1906 - the year of the International Expo and the opening of the Simplon rail tunnel - but the station was not inaugurated until 1931.
The design by the architect Ulisse Stacchini, which was inspired by the Union Station in Washington, is extremely classical and monumental, somewhat influenced by fascism but also a combination of styles (Art Nouveau, Art Deco and twentieth-century forms) that has been ironically defined as “Assyrian-Milanese”.
Important artists like Giannino Castiglioni, Alberto Bazzoni and Basilio Cascella all contributed to the décor which is discreet but representative of various arts: ceramics and mosaics on the walls and floor of the upper gallery, allegorical sculptures and reliefs on the ground floor and composite stylistic elements for the furnishings, chandeliers and clocks. The galleria delle carrozze is the front concourse that links with the city, an atrium originally designed originally for the passage of carriages and, later, cars. Now the space has been pedestrianized. From the entrance hall where the original ticket sales office was once located (the ticket counters can still be seen) travellers can ascend the grand staircase that leads to the main arrivals and departures gallery that sis situated more than 7 metres above street level.
The 66,000m2 track area is covered by five iron and glass arches. The middle of which is 72 metres high and 33.50 metres wide, the largest ever made in Italy.
The Padiglione Reale (Royal Pavilion) waiting room reserved for the royal family is near platform 21 at the far right in the station; it is opened to the public on special occasions and also used for ceremonial events.
The recent restoration and redevelopment of the Stazione Centrale begun in 2005; it created commercial areas inside the station, new ticket offices and a direct connection to the metropolitan subway station below.
In addition to a quote by the writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi on platform 21, there is also a commemorative plaque on the grey stone, with an inscription in red "… between December 1943 and May 1944, the long journey of men, women and children, Jews and political opponents deported to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps began from the basement of this station ...”
The new Holocaust Memorial is situated in an area below the railway tracks, with entry from Piazza Safra, 1.
Milan's first central station was located in Piazza della Repubblica. Inaugurated in 1864, designed by the Frenchman Louis-Jules Bouchot, it was abandoned after the opening of the new Stazione Centrale.
The tiles on the front entrance doors of the Padiglione Reale (Royal Pavilion) recall the events in the life of the Savoy family, from the foundation of the lineage with Umberto Biancamano up to the meeting between Victor Emmanuel III and Mussolini.