Like every Monday, Discover Naples returns: the column to discover the facts and places of the city! Today’s appointment takes us to the National Railway Museum of Pietrarsa, to retrace the history of the first Italian railway through the Bourbon workshops…
The Bourbon workshops
It was 1840 when, in Pietrarsa, Ferdinand II of Bourbon founded the Royal Mechanical, Pyrotechnic and Locomotive Factory; a real moral slap in the face of industrialized France and Great Britain. But why Pietrarsa, one might wonder. Well, it so happens that it was the closest place to the already functioning first Italian railway section: the Naples-Portici line.
The Naples-Portici was the first railway line built on the Italian peninsula, in the territory at the time forming part of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Commissioned by King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, the line was officially inaugurated on October 3, 1839: it was double-tracked and had a length of 7.25 kilometers.
Pietrarsa represents, therefore, the first Italian industrial nucleus: it even precedes that of FIAT 57 years! An active center until the 1970s, when the emergence of electric and diesel locomotives determined the decline of steam vehicles and, at the same time, of the factory.
Visit the National Railway Museum of Pietrarsa
The Italian FS Foundation guards and manages the great historical heritage of the Italian Railways: established on March 6, 2013, it brings together under its protection a fleet of historic rolling stock made up of over 400 vehicles of which about 150 are operational, the archives and libraries, the museums of Pietrarsa and Trieste Campo Marzio and the once suspended railway lines, now recovered to a new tourist vocation with the “Binari senza Tempo” project.
Thanks to the Foundation it is possible to book a trip aboard one of the many historic carriages. There are many locomotives available, as well as the possible routes: from the Italian Trans-Siberian to the historic train from Milano Centrale to discover Lake Maggiore. For info and reservations click here.
Today, thanks to the restoration work in 2014 and 2017, the National Museum of Pietrarsa represents a piece of history and a great tourist attraction. Visiting the pavilions and carriages allows you to experience an experience of the past! Visit the museum: click here for all the info.