Photo: Passeggiando in Valcamonica
Giant map of regional rail in Lombardy on the floor of Milan’s Repubblica station.
Unofficial Map(s): Atlas of Italian Rail Transit by Andrea Spinosa
Occasionally, I get in a bit of a rut with Transit Maps – I feel like I’ve seen everything there is to see, or that I’m just treading water – and then something like this comes along that just blows me away.
This poster, designed by Andrea Spinosa of the CityRailways blog (in Italian), provides an incredible look at rail mass transit in Italy, and it’s simply superb.
The centre of the poster gives a country-wide overview, showing where the different urban networks are and the distribution of transit modes – Metro, commuter rail, regional rail, trams and even funiculars (which seem to be surprisingly popular in Italy!).
The real highlight for me, however, are the 15 maps around the edge of the poster that show the transit systems of different cities/regions around Italy. I’ve included images of four of these maps above. Not unlike Jug Cerovic’s INAT maps (April 2014), the new maps redraw these systems using one consistent style for everything, and it looks good. Pretty much all of them look better than their corresponding official map, especially Naples. The typeface used looks like our old friend, Neutraface. I particularly like all the custom icons for points of interest, including ones for Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna, each drawn with the appropriate profile for each volcano.
There’s a lot to take in here, and I definitely recommend that you head on over to the CityRailways site and check the poster PDF out in full. Each of the city maps is also available as a separate, pocket-sized PDF that you can download and print out, or just put on your mobile device and use it that way. There are lots of other great maps to be found on the site as well.
Our rating: Brilliant, comprehensive and beautiful. I’d put this poster on my wall! Five stars!
Source: CityRailways site
Using the Floor Map as a Guide
We’ve feautured a transit map on the ceiling of a train before, so why not one on the floor as well?
This map shows the suburban and regional train network surrounding Milan in Italy: Milan’s Metro system can be seen in between our two touristy friends. Reading the departures board in the background, I’d hazard a guess that this map is at the Garibaldi FS station. Awkward to use when the station is really busy, though…
Nice shot of an in-car strip map from Milan.
Official Map: Milan Metro and Suburban Rail Service
Milan’s Metropolitana subway system is Italy’s largest, and is supported by a comprehensive network of suburban and regional trains. It’s also linked by an amazing tram system, but no indication of those services, or connections to it, are presented on this map.
Have we been there? Yes, although I didn’t use the Metro, preferring to walk around Milan’s dense historic core.
What we like: Use of blue for the thinner suburban rail lines gives them their own distinct look while still being subordinate to the more important Metro lines. Comprehensive set of informational icons, although this does lead to some “icon overload” at Centrale and Cadorna stations. Important information is in Italian and English. Good accessibility information.
What we don’t like: A total absence of curved corners on routes gives a very severe, almost formal look to the map, as does the all-caps typeface used (which, despite being a bespoke typeface created for this map, ends up looking very similar to Franklin or News Gothic). The tinted colours behind the terminus station names, while effective at differentiating those stations from normal stations, looks a little old-fashioned.
Our rating: While this map looks quite sterile, it presents information quite clearly. I also feel that this look is totally intentional, as the streets of Milan’s historic medieval core are twisty and narrow. The contrast between those streets and the more direct routing of the modern subway is effectively highlighted in this map. Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Official ATM website)