Dining on Ischia, A Gem of an Island off the Bay of Naples
July 25, 2014
Colle San Paolo in Umbria
January 28, 2014
Shopping in Amalfi
July 29, 2014
Italy Train Travel: Milan Central Station
October 12, 2014
The second largest "Grand Station" in Italy, Milan's Stazione Centrale is my personal favorite station for its elegance and convenience. Built in the late 1920's in Piazza Duca D'Aosta, the building's massive stone facades dominate the piazza. Inside, the architecture is an enchanting blend of Liberty and Art Deco styles with early Fascist nationalism present in the artistic themes of the statues, mosaics, and even the original stone signs on the wall, which include the nationalistic SPQR of early Fascism. Perhaps my favorite feature of the station are the soaring elegant iron canopies that cover the tracks.
The station occupies four floors. Ground transportation arrives and departs from Level 0, where you will also find the ticket office (biglietteria). The train tracks (binario) are located on Level 1, accessible by stairs or by escalators in the very center of the station. On the ground level there are numbered maps to the station listing all of the shops, dining, and services available, including a pharmacy, first aid, police station, and electronics stores. There are many fast food options and cafés bars, even a juice bar, and if you have more time try the Bistrot Centrale on Level 1. The Sky Lounge Bar, accessible from a metal staircase near the pharmacy, overlooks the binarios and has wifi.
The station is served by the Frecciarossa fast train lines, the Frecciabianca direct trains, and regional trains. When traveling on any ticket without a reserved seat you must stamp your ticket in the machines at the beginning of the tracks to validate it before entering the train. If you do not do this you are subject to a fine from the conductor of up to 50 euro. It's a good idea to position yourself along the tracks of your binario in advance of the train's arrival so you can board quickly. Train arrival and departure information is posted on screens throughout the station.
I travel the most frequently on the fast train lines served by the station. The frecciarossa fast train from Milan to Rome costs about 86 euro and takes a little over 3 hours.
Fast trains are all reserved seating, so your ticket will indicate your carriage number (carozza) and also your seat. The position where you will enter the numbered train car is indicated along the frecciarossa binarios (14 and 15) with a red sign. I suggests that you also then confirm that you are entering the correct train car with the number listed on the door. If you need assistance, conductors waiting along the tracks can help you with any questions.
The frecciarossa cars have outlets for charging electronics. The overhead luggage compartments are larger than the frecciabianca and regional trains, but they are quite high and difficult to reach so putting luggage up there is difficult. I suggest packing very light with only carry on size bags if you have any train travel on your itinerary. If you have larger bags you will have to stow them in the luggage shelves at the end of the car. Bathrooms are located between the train cars. The frecciarossa trains are equipped with free wifi and serve light snacks and beverages.
Online tickets can be purchased from www.trenitalia.it, or you can purchase tickets at the station through the ticket office, the tourist office (useful if you need help in English), or the automatic ticket machines throughout the station.
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