When coming back to Milano from the Ligurian coast or the french Cote d’Azur – could be a week-end in Montecarlo, some days on your yacht based in Portofino, or a cheap pizza somewhere by the seaside – at 30 kms from the end of the highway you can’t miss the Gropello Autogrill and gas station. To be precise it’s in the Dorno district but it’s near the Gropello Cairoli tool-booth, so for everybody it’s just the “Gropello”.
Built between 1961 and 1964 for Pavesi, on a project by Carlo Casati, it is the typical “bridge-shaped” autogrill of that era. Unfortunately all along the years it has been modified for practical reasons but also to gain a sort of more modern style and so the purity of the original shape is lost forever.
Everytime I’m on my way back to Milano and I pass under the Gropello bridge I feel like home. It’s the modern interpretation of the ancient middle age gates to access into town.