Transit workers and passengers share their insights on the growing system in its early years.

Welcome to the latest installation of “Public Access,” where CityLab shares its favorite videos—old and new, serious and nutty—that tell a story about place.

In 1982, Milan’s transit authority wanted to show off its young and expanding Metro system.

The 30-minute-long In Metrò, made by ATM (Azienda Transporti Milanese), shows the budding transit system through the eyes of drivers, control center officials, electricians, board members, and passengers during a nearly 24-hour cycle while Europe’s coolest song of 1982—“Da Da Da” by the minimalist German electropop outfit Trio—plays throughout.

Metropolitana di Milano opened in 1964, starting with its red-branded Line 1, which was designed by Bob Noorda and Franco Albini along with engineer Franca Helg. The three were awarded the Golden Compass Award, Italy’s highest industrial design honor, that same year for the project. Their design principles were used for the green-branded Line 2, which opened five years later.

Towards the end, footage from a board meeting sends a message to viewers that a better system is eventually coming. At the time of In Metrò, Line 3 was still eight years away, Lines 4 and 5 even further, but Milanese straphangers in the film universally praise Metro’s speed, comfort, and safety. An older passenger even proclaims it to be Milan’s best public service.

With nearly every minute detail of the system’s inner workings already put on display, the sun sets as the film closes, a Line 2 train pulls away from the station, and its time for everyone to bob their head to “Da, Da, Da” yet again.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  2. Design

    What’s Behind the Iconic Floor Plan of London

    The most common residential floor plans in European cities offer a window into urban history and culture. In London, it’s the “two-up, two-down” row house.

  3. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

  4. photo: subway in NYC
    Transportation

    Inside Bloomberg's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    Drawing on his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposes handing power and money to urban leaders as part of his Democratic presidential bid.

  5. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

×