Milan – Centrale

20130506_170415To be honest I’ve never been a huge fan of Milan in comparison to other Italian cities as there is very little to love in the way of architecture, barring the beautiful Duomo in the centre.

20130506_165606It’s difficult to decide whether Statzione Centrale,  is beautiful or not with its inhuman size and brutal style (actually a blend of many architectural styles, particularly Liberty and Art Nouveau). Although commissioned in 1906 it was redesigned and completed on the orders of Mussolini as a gateway to Italy from Europe and a symbol of fascist power.

20130506_165922However the station, like the city, has grown on me slowly over the years, since my first visit as a communist student when I was 17.

Not that I’ve become a fascist sympathiser since then but I have learned to divorce politics from architectural appreciation, not least because my own very leftist home town of Sheffield has itself a few examples of concrete monoliths that have somehow taken on their own beauty over time.

20130508_120902Although it looks somewhat faded and decrepit, there are little gems to be found high up on the walls and ceilings of the huge halls.

Today the 24 platforms handle 330,000 people and over 600 trains a day, so no wonder it looks a bit tired.

20130506_16571820130506_165822On this occasion passengers were greeted by these two characters advertising the coming 2015 Expo Milano.

They were created by Dante Ferretti to represent ‘the basic elements of nutrition and their physical and real transposition of the human figure’. No one could ever accuse the Italians of being understated, another thing I’ve grown to like them for.

If you want somewhere to eat round here fish specialist Al Cuoco di Bordo at 11 Via Cristiforo Gluck is supposed to be good although I haven’t had a chance to go.

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