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Monday, June 21, 2010

Milan's Trams

Orange trams brighten up already colorful streets.

Rumor has it that no map exists for the tram system in the city of Milan. Searching around travel forums shows people asking for said map but no one ever being able to produce one. I don't know if one exists either.... Search 'Milan tram' on Google Maps and you will get this map with the locations of tram stops, but no indication at all where they go.

Tram stops indicated by red dots on Google Maps.

But I do love the Milan tram system. Maybe for this seeming chaos and quirkiness I love it. It seems to me there is hardly a street in central Milan where you won't see a tram crossing in front of you at an intersection, hardly a street without a maze of intertwined wires above providing electricity for them. And I love the bright orange trams curving and clanging, passing each other on parallel tracks or backing up behind one another. It takes me back to my childhood somehow, stirring up memories of being led around by my mother, holding tightly to my hand, on New York City subways. Or maybe to Christmas train displays in Manhattan. Seeing trams I feel I'm inside one of those displays. It's probably a combination of those memories, since without having any clue where I am going I'm usually led around by the hand on the Milan trams now too, just as if I were small.

Inside, the trams also evoke a bygone era, again reinforcing this childhood sense in me. They are the old original cars, beautifully maintained with their shapely wooden seats and brass handrails kept polished just by the hundreds of hands holding them. Little white light fixtures hang from the ceiling, and even the modern adverts don't distract too much.

Decor from an earlier time... Wood and brass, opaque glass lighting...

... and carved wooden benches.

The problem does remain though, how to use the system without a map? I have found this link, for the Azienda Transporti Milanese, otherwise known as the ATM. Here, you can put in a starting and ending location in Milan and receive a map and directions as to which trams, buses, or metro to take. There is an option you can click which eliminates the underground, meaning that your trip will be only on trams or buses. And the site is available also in English. I played around and it works quite well. This could turn out to be very useful... I've added it on the right column menu of Important Links. Next time maybe I'll use this system in advance, and bring maps with me into Milan. And who knows? After some time maybe I'll know something the Milanese all seem to know.. just where indeed each of those trams is going!


The ATM also runs two very special restaurant trams through Milan. These lovingly recreated trams serve chef-prepared dinners while taking passengers on a sightseeing tour of Milan by night. Read up here for more of the details and other excursions that ATM offers:


Inside, and outside, the ATM dinner/sightseeing trams.

Here again is the link for the ATM giromilano, the journey planner for Milan: http://www.atm-mi.it/en/Giromilano/Pages/default.aspx

And, some more meanderings around Milan:

FYI -- Going To Milan From Stresa
The Roof Of Rinascente In Milan
Roof of Il Duomo di Milano


ADDED June 23, 2010: YES! A reader has just informed me that on the Giromilano page of the ATM site the tram route can indeed be found. In the section called Route and Timetable finder, on the left, choose a tram route from the drop down menu. The map will then display that tram route, and list below it all the tram stops on said route. Clicking on the name of a specific stop will show you its location on the map, as well as give access to a timetable. Still a bit confusing, but extremely helpful information. Fantastico! Thank you very much to Marcos!




5 comments:

Marcos said...

Buongiorno, on the Italian version you will find the tram-routes:
http://www.atm-mi.it/it/Giromilano/Pagine/default.aspx

In the box "Cerca linee e orari" you can choose your tram and it will display the route in google maps.

I find the public transport in Italy, how shabby it may look, very good and cheap.

Stresa Sights said...

Ah ha! I knew I knew, or at least I hoped I hoped, that someone would know about a map! Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH, Marcos, for solving this mystery for all of us! I agree with you... I find Italy's public transport to be wonderful, and not at all shabby either.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I love trams .. have been on them in Switzerland but never Italy.

I think I am going to have to try and convince my husband to take a break from work, and spend more time over there... IF ONLY !!

Anonymous said...

When you are in Milan, ATM publish a map of the entire transport system that you can buy for 2 euros. Perhaps they don't put it on the net to make you buy a paper copy!

Stresa Sights said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment! Very good information to add to this post about the tram maps. The original post was written two years ago; perhaps things have changed, or, perhaps you are right about that 2 euros! - Dana

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