Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
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.