stazione di santa maria novella


Santa Maria Novella Station (in Italian Stazione di Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy
Photos by Caleb Racicot

My best friend and his husband are in Italy, where he and I have previously traveled on several occasions. He asked me what things I’d like him to bring home for me and among my requests was pictures of Italian Art Deco and/or Modernist and/or Fascist architect.

Since I knew they were going to Florence, I asked for at least a couple pictures of the station, which I recall as being amazing. I love the design of the central hall as well as the shopping arcades and those windows are spectacular.

The station as it is now dates to the 1930s when a mid 19th century station was remodeled. Here is background from Wikipedia on the design, which is a mix of several design schools:

In 1932 through a number of newspaper editorials, published in La Nazione, Florence’s main daily, Romano Romanelli a reputed and influential Florentine sculptor, criticized the original project by the Architect Mazzoni for the new Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station.[2] A constructive debate resulted in the final choice of the project sponsored by the Architect Marcello Piacentini and designed by Gruppo Toscano.

The station was designed in 1932 by a group of architects known as the Gruppo Toscano (Tuscan Group) of which Giovanni Michelucci and Italo Gamberini, Berardi, Baroni, Lusanna were among the members; the building was constructed between 1932 and 1934. The plan of the building, as seen from above, looks as if it were based on the fascio littorio, the symbol of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, many documents give this explanation, but, that shape was forced by the pre-existing station. The “blade” represented by the first two passenger tracks and the postal ones were in fact the extension of the 1861 alignment which included the tracks of the line from Livorno.

The building is a prime example of Italian modernism, but has little to do with the Italian Rationalism movement, being more strongly influenced by the Viennese architecture of Loos and Hoffman, with perhaps a nod to Wright; but it is the building’s complete originality that makes it outstanding. The competition to design the station was controversial but the approval by Mussolini of the Gruppo Toscano project was hailed as an official acceptance of modernity. The station was designed to replace the aging Maria Antonia Station, one of the few example of architecture by I. K. Brunel in Italy, and to serve as a gateway to the city centre.

The Gruppo Toscano was only responsible for the main frontal building of the station. The heating plant, platforms, other facilities and details such as benches were all designed in a contrasting style by the official Ministry of Communications architect, Angiolo Mazzoni. The benches and baggage shelves illustrated on this page were not part of the Gruppo Toscano project. Outside and adjacent to the station is also Michelucci’s white marble Palazzina Reale di Santa Maria Novella, built to host the Royal family on visits to Florence.

While it is of a ‘modern’ design, the use of pietra forte for the station’s stone frontage was intended to respond to and contrast with the nearby Gothic architecture of the church of Santa Maria Novella. The interior of the station features a dramatic metal and glass roof with large skylights over the main passenger concourse, which is aligned perpendicular to the tracks and acts as a pedestrian street connecting one side of the city with the other. The skylights span the passenger concourse without any supporting columns, giving a feeling of openness and vast space and reinforcing the convergence of all the public functions of the station on the passenger concourse.

Hannigram back in Florence

It might be the fate or a coincidence that the Fannibal Star Hannigram visited beautiful Italian city - Florence right in the time of TWOTL one year anniversary. They arrived to the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella via the same train which had seducted Bedelia in the Antipasto episode or which Hannibal had taken for his travel to / back from Palermo in the Primavera / Secondo episode.

From the station, they crossed a street to see the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella – a place of the beautiful view of Hannibal’s and Bedelia’s old apartment in the Antipasto / Dolce episode. They took a photo before the Basilica, where Hannibal had limped around – injured after Jack’s attack in the Dolce episode.

From there, Hannigram walked to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi where Pazzi had died in the Contorno episode. In the Palazzo garden Hannibal also had met Antony Dimmond in the Antipasto episode and Will with Jack had been there, in the Dolce episode.

Piazza San Lorenzo is the place where Pazzi had stood when he had phoned to Mason Verger in the Contorno episode. Bad life choice, dear Pazzi…

Then Hannigram visited Hannibal’s beloved Duomo aka Santa Maria del Fiore. Bedelia had walked around in the Antipasto episode.

In the same episode she also had crossed the Piazza della Repubblica. Hannigram couldn’t resist to take a photo with this beautiful carousel.

Then these “escape” lanes. Now Hannigram could peacefully took some pictures there. In the Dolce episode Hannibal had run for his life through the lane from Piazza del Limbo and Chiasso Ricasoli.

Then, finally, Hannigram walked to the Piazza degli Uffizi. Probably everyone remembers these heart-breaking scenes which had happened there, in the Dolce episode… Now there were no killing, just the Hannigram love.

And because Galleria degli Uffizi was only a few steps from here, Hannigram decided to see Primavera again. So they paid for the tickets. Inside they met some old couples and took photos together.

The entrance to a room with Botticelli’s famous paintings was guarded by Ganymedes and his eagle.

And then, finally, the beautiful Primavera was there! Hannigram was sooo happy to see it again…

Later, before they left the gallery, they stopped one more time to say Hello to this old Fannibal woman who wore her nice flower crown.

Then they used the Ponte Santa Trinita to cross the Arno river. We had seen the bridge in the Contorno episode with Jack and Bella’s ashes. Also in the Dolce episode – again, with injured Hannibal.

Why they walked there? Because there is the Piazzale Michelangelo at the other side of the river. Hannigram stopped where Jack could be seen in the Contorno episode. This place offered them a beautiful view of Florence.

That was theoreticaly end of Hannigram’s Florence trip. But too much love was in the air so they couldn’t leave like that. They went to the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge full of buildings which had been shortly seen in the Contorno episode. But some people can remember it from the “old movie times”… There is a fountain full of love locks.

And Hannigram locked their love there as well.

With that Hannibal-part of the Star fulfiled his desire to show Florence to Will, as he told in the Dolce episode. Will-part was so charmed that he had to tell everyone – or anyone who will find this in waters of Arno…

PS: One year has gone, one year to go, Fannibals. And then - the 4th season!