By HClaireB

Snapshots from a railway station

Santa Maria Novella (SMN) is the main railway station in Florence (named for the beautiful Gothic church on the opposite side of the square). It was designed in 1932 by a group of architects known as the Gruppo Toscano and the building was constructed between 1932 and 1934. The competition to design the station was controversial, but its approval by Mussolini was hailed as the official acceptance of Modernism in Italy. The station was designed to replace an old station, which surprisingly was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel!

SMN is little changed eighty years later, it's still a masterpiece of Modernist architecture. Its dramatic metal and glass roof with large skylights spans the passenger concourse without any supporting columns, giving a feeling of openness and vast space. The tops of the walls are decorated with amazingly evocative 1930s photos of famous Italian sites and buildings (the Fascists were very keen to hark back to Italy's glory days). The signage is in a bold modernist font. And it has polished travertine and marble floors which were giving lovely reflections in today's warm sunshine.

I wanted to say thank you so much for all the suggestions and encouragement you gave me yesterday. I was thinking of throwing in the towel, but I feel strong enough now for several more rounds ;-)

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