Central Station is one of the main European railway stations and it is the second in Italy in terms of traffic volume, after Roma Termini; it was inaugurated in 1931 to replace the old station in Piazza della Repubblica, that couldn’t handle the increasing volume of railway traffic. Since then, it has been refurbished different times. The façade in Piazza Duca D’Aosta, where the Pirelli skyscraper towers, is 200 metres wide; the marble and stone it is made of come from the Carso Region. On top, the two huge wing horses by Alberto Fava represent “Progress, driven by will and intelligence”.
The canopy covering the 24 tracks, 341 metres long, is made of iron and glass and it was planned by the engineer Alberto Fava. Central Station has no definite architectural style, but it is a blend of different styles: Liberty, Art Deco added to the monumental style typical of the fascist regime. Binario 21 (Track 21) has been the sad departure point during the Second World War and during the Republica Sociale Italiana of the convoys used to deport Italian Jews towards the exterminating camps.
At the same rail, there is the “Royal Lounge”, a lounge used in the past by the Savoia family and its court during their travels and the adjoining weapons lounge. The area surrounding Central Station, although it is not safe, holds good surprises such as Villa Figini, a good example of rationalist architecture of the thirties in Via Ettore Perrone di San Martino 8 and Naviglio della Martesana (Martesana Canal). At night there are lots of restaurants, trattorias old Milan, pizza places and clubs, such as the well-known Zelig. It is recommended not to walk around this area at night.