For the lovers of contemporary art who are going to visit Naples, there is a whole “underground” world to discover. The artistic project of the underground station in Naples represents one of the most interesting Italian experiments on the permanent insertion of contemporary artwork in a urban context.
Visiting a series of wonderful contemporary museums for free while riding the subway is probably one of those unique things that you should never miss, especially in the South of Italy. The Art Stations of the Naples metro in fact provide an unconventional and yet particularly interesting way to learn how much the city has changed: vibrant colors, music, photography and historical testimonies.
Naples Metro: Where to find the Art Stations
The city’s metro lines 2 and 6 house together more than 180 works of art by 90 of the best-known contemporary artists, This open dynamic museum is under the artistic direction of the Italian art critic and curator Achille Bonito Oliva. The artists who created all of Naples subway art on display are international well established names, but also young local (and yet not famous) architects. The eclectic mix also helped to offer different styles for every metro station. Hope you enjoy our virtual tour.
1. Garibaldi Station – Piazza Garibaldi
The futuristic Garibaldi Station bears the signature of the famous French architect Dominique Perrault. It houses two installations of Michelangelo Pistoletto, both inspired to the concepts of transparency and brightness. This station is accessible through a complex system of crossing escalators, covered in mirrors to reflect the natural light passing through the glass ceiling.
2. Università Station – Piazza Borsa
University station is one of the last to be built and inaugurated. The underground station inside presents an extravagant and original art at the same time. The sculptures and drawings inside were made by 2 architects, Karim Rashid and Alessandro Mendini. Sculptures and graphic artworks line the escalators, leading to platforms with backlit patterns on the walls. Two abstracted portraits of Dante and Beatrice follow the commuters descending and ascending the stairwells on each respective platform. The sparkling lime and pink point the way and guide the commuters to their destination.
3. Toledo Station – Via Toledo
The most beautiful metro station in Europe — in 2012 The Daily Telegraph awarded the title of most impressive metro station in Europe to Toledo. And again in 2014 the CNN has named it the most beautiful station in Europe. Designed by the Spanish architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Toledo station was built at 50 meters below the ground water and is the deepest metro station built on Line 1 to date. The station is inspired to the themes of water and light, including two mosaics designed by the South African artist William Kentridge and realised by Neapolitan craftsmen.
4. Materdei Station – Piazza Scipione Ammirato
Designed by Atelier Mendini, Materdei Station opened in 2003, bringing new life and prestige to Piazza Scipione Ammirato, which was transformed into a pedestrian area with green spaces and works of arts, such as the bronzed Carpe Diem sculpture by Luigi Serafini and Lucio Del Pezzo’s ceramics.
The ramp leading to the lower level passes underneath Luigi Ontani’s mosaics with ceramic reliefs, representing fantastic sea creatures and the traditional mask of Pulcinella.Both platforms are enriched by the coloured silkscreens panel designed by Mathelda Balatresi, Anna Gili, Stefano Giovannoni, Robert Gliglorov, Denis Santachiara, Innocente and George Sowden.
5. Dante Station – Piazza Dante
The Dante station in the Naples Metro is situated near Piazza Dante and was designed by Gae Aulenti. The architect also reorganized the square, without disrupting the original structure dating back to the 1700. For the pavement she used volcanic stone from Mount Etna in Sicily and followed the same scheme designed by Vanvitelli.
Inside the metro station there are many modern and conteporary artworks, like frescoes by Carlo Alfa-no, or Universo senza bombe (Translation from Italian: Universe without bombs), a huge mosaic with ovals and geometric figures guiding the travelers towards the platforms.