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Roma Termini

view of Roma Termini - piazza dei Cinquecento
Total surface area 225.000 m2, frequented by approximately 480,000 persons per day, over 150 million per year. The station is located in piazza dei Cinquecento, in the heart of the city.
Even beyond these figures, Roma Termini has come to play a primary role in the urban, regional, national and international transport system. Taking as its starting point the consideration that stations are privileged places of passage, fundamentally important resources for cities in constant expansion and evolution, the Grandi Stazioni project was developed to transform Italy’s 13 most important stations into comfortable, secure and assessible places with the dual role of multi-modal transport hubs and city piazzas rich in commercial services and opportunities.
The renovation of Termini station has confirmed the validity of this idea, thanks to investments totalling some 119 million euros and the works speedily carried out on the occasion of the 2000 Jubilee.

History

Designed by Salvatore Bianchi, built amongst the fields and vinyards of the Esquiline hill in 1867, at its inauguration it was described by Pope Pius IX as "the railway station of the capital city of Italy ". Although at the time it seemed too large for the needs of the capital of the Papal State (with just over 180 thousand inhabitants), just fifteen years later it had already proved to be inadequate for the needs of its ever-increasing railway traffic.
view of the station in 1874 - photo from FS archives
Immediately after its construction had been completed, a series of enlargement works began involving the addition of extra tracks, temporary sheds and loading platforms, but the building retained its original dimensions until 1905. Six years later, it became necessary to erect a temporary wooden building for the ticketing office and to add a new set of tracks for passenger trains. 

In the immediate post-war years the problem cropped up again and the State Railways’ Works Department proposed that the entire station complex should be altered. In 1925, architect Angiolo Mazzoni was asked to study a new project for the enlargement of the original building by Salvatore Bianchi. The initial studies foresaw an underground station consisting of two terminus stations (one on the north and one on the south) whose lines, passing underground through the city, would meet up at Termini, viewed however as a central transit station, and also located underground.

Before drawing up a final project able to win the approval of both the Duce and Minister Benni, Mazzoni examined various other solutions to try to find an integrated way of combining the old structures with the new. Instructions he could not ignore, which despite his best efforts would later cost him the strongest criticism, foresaw the creation of forms of classical inspiration, vast solemn expanses with arches, vaulting and a huge entrance hall conceived not as a filter between the station and the city but instead as an “imposing entrance to a temple”.
the main hall of the station in the Fifties - photo from FS archives
The original design project thus underwent a slow and inevitable metamorphosis along the road to official approval, which was finally given on 3rd February 1939. A monumental front block with an imposing portico and a vast entrance hall measuring 12000 m2, completely empty, with no purpose other than than of looking impressive, meant that all the travel and railway services were relegated to the side wings, thus prejudicing the efficiency of the railway station’s operation and the comfort of its passengers.

A curious feature of the "Mazzonian" project was the way it sought to represent the Italian nation through the use of marble: various precious marbles typical of Italy were selected to cover the walls and floors.
Mazzoni’s departure for Colombia and the start of the second world war halted the construction works at Termini. When the war came to an end, the wings of the new station were almost completed but the front part of building still remained to be built. In the changed political climate, it seemed appropriate to re-examine the design from the economic, functional and architectural points of view, and in 1947 a national competition was launched whose winners (the Montuori Vitellozzi group) were assigned the task of completing Mazzoni’s work.
exterior view of the station in the Fifties - photo from FS archives
The predominant characteristics required of the new design project were clear, transparent and functional lines, harmonizing with what had already been built and coexisting with the remains of the walls of the Agger Servianus, 80 metres long with peaks 9 metres high. It was decided that the station space should be articulated in 4 buildings, distinct from but connected to the other two wings of the station and to Piazza dei Cinquecento: the front building ("E"), the ticketing hall, the head gallery and the external restaurant. The whole complex was spread over an area of 14 thousand m2

The remains of the Agger Servianus, adequately valorized by the "Dinosaur", symbolically represent the continuity existing between the ancient and the modern arts of building.

When the works were completed, Termini station had acquired its present-day form. It was inaugurated on 20th December 1950 by Italy’s current President, Luigi Einaudi.
the wing along via Giolitti in the Fifties - photo from FS archives

New station services

The quality standard of the station’s traveller services has been much enhanced by the modernisation of the ticketing offices, the strengthening of the information structures, the introduction of automatic ticketing machines, the new left-luggage office and continuously supervised toilet facilities.
view of the ticket office in the main hall
The signs system, which in the past had been one of the chief obstacles to the correct utilisation of the station’s space, has been redesigned with the essential criterion of assuring immediate comprehension, employing a clear and uniform style.
photo of the new signage system
The Central Gallery, once little more than a pedestrian passage linking via Marsala and via Giolitti, has now been transformed into a general compendium of everything Termini has to offer its variegated public: services for travellers, tourists and city-dwellers, attractive shopping proposals, restaurants and fast-food outlets for all tastes and needs, all developed along a length of 220 linear metres.

The thousands of mosaic tesserae covering the “Dinosaur” roof of the Ticketing Hall now twinkle brightly after the painstaking restoration works; and beneath the flowing lines of the Entrance Hall, the modern design of the big new station bookshop catches the eye.
view of the Forum Termini shopping centre on the basement level
In the underground level of the station, which used to be the symbol of the deteriorated state of the entire complex, the Forum Termini shopping centre now offers a vast range of commercial services and shops: its 14 thousand m2 of sparking display windows featuring goods of every kind provide a new station experience with special attention to the “non-travelling” public. A factor which proved to be a winner in relaunching Termini station.
view of the new bookshop on the main hall

Architecture, culture and contemporary art

The original architecture of Roma Termini, a mixture of styles fluctuating between the Thirties and the Fifties, has been integrated by works in a modern key signed by Grandi Stazioni’s staff in collaboration with prominent designers such as Atelier Mendini, Michele De Lucchi, Pierluigi Cerri, Vignelli Associates and Piero Castiglioni.
interior view of the Ala Termini wing, renovated in 2001
A fine example of this work is the restoration of the Mazzonian Wing, the building designed in the 1930s by architect Mazzoni and meant at the time to be the station’s front: a rare example of futurist architecture, which had been so sadly neglected through the years it was reduced to a state of total abandonment and decay.
The Mazzonian Wing on via Giolitti has been valorized by converting it into a multifunctional center offering services of public utility and opportunities for shopping, special events, food and refreshments, wellbeing and culture.

The splendid spaces available at Roma Termini are often chosen as locations for concerts, meetings, exhibitions, and for literary and social events. On 23rd December 2006, in an official ceremony, Termini Station was dedicated to Pope John Paul II.

Security

Security in the station has been strengthened by the use of Police Forces supported by an integrated system of detectors and closed-circuit TV cameras, connected to a Control Room operating 24 hours per day. In addition, a special programme coordinated by the national police force has also been activated.
Grandi Stazioni, in collaboration with the State Railways’ Security work-team, the company’s own Protection function and the National Police units present in the station, has successfully tested a scheme comprising both passive and active security measures.

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