Say the word subway and you think: dirty, dark and rats. But in Naples, Italy, an ongoing public art project has transformed 13 metro stations into works of art, with the most recent on Via Toledo being named one of The Daily Telegraph‘s most impressive undergrounds in Europe.
Also CNN have named Naples’ Toledo Metro station as top of the list of Europe’s most beautiful metro stations.
For the price of a subway fair visitors can wander through tunnels and admire sculptures that would be more than fitting to be featured in major metropolitan art galleries.
Naples’ Toledo station was opened in 2012, the 16th station on line 1, and links the city’s main shopping streets via Toledo. At 50 metres deep it is built below the ground water, yet the interior design is by Spanish firm Oscar Tusquets Blanca and as one of Naples’s Metro Art Stations this station’s theme is water and light. Indeed the railway has a long history in that part of the world with the Napoli-Portici, the first Italian railway line; it was built by the Bayard Company and opened in 1839. It now forms part of the Naples–Salerno line.
The art within Toledo was curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, works of art include two William Kentridge mosaics, designed by the South African artist but realised by Neapolitan artisans. In the deepest corridor of the station are Robert Wilson’s ‘Light Panels’ and works by Achille Cevoli. The station is also the meeting point for the Metro Art Tour.