This is the place where the history of the Italian railway was born.
On the 3rd of October 1839, in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, there was the inauguration of first railway line in Italy. It was 7.411 metres long, and the connection between Naples and Portici, in the same direction of the Napoli-Salerno line, which today coasts the Museum area. The track was made in 11 minutes by two convoys, projected by the engineer Armand Bayard de la Vingtrie, on the English prototype of George Stephenson.
The following year, there was the issue of the Royal Decree for the purchase of a first part of the ground on which the complex of Pietrarsa would have been built, in a place where at the time of Napoleon there was a coastal artillery, defending the roadstead of Naples.
This exhibition site is quite unique nationwide, situated as it is along the Italian peninsular’s first ever line, built between Naples and Portici, it is one of Europe’s most evocative railway museums.
Nestled between the sea and Mount Vesuvius, it offers spectacular views over the Gulf of Naples. This site is unrivalled in Italy both for the wealth of objects it holds and for its spectacular location. It covers an area of 36,000 m2 and houses a fabulous botanical gardens with plants from all over the world.
The Museum’s collection is made up of over 55 pieces of heritage rolling stock, housed in the original Bourbon workshops. Each of these pavilions once hosted specialised departments in the production cycle.
Your trip here will bring you way back in time to 1839, when Italy’s first rail line was inaugurated, right through to more modern times.
The museum’s true showstoppers are the engines, machinery and model railways on display and which span from the 1800s through to the 1980s.
The Virtual Tour of the legendary Bayard train, a multimedia AR experience through which Italy’s very first locomotive is brought back to life. The images tell the story of the origins and inner workings of the steam train and of the first Italian rail line between Naples and Portici.
The National Railway Museum in Pietrarsa can hold 2500 people in seven spaces, boasting a conference hall and vast outdoor area too, it is one of the largest and most important conference venues in Southern Italy.
Though its primary scope is that of a museum, Pietrarsa is also a cultural hub where one can not only find out about railway history but also hold events such as exhibitions, theatrical and fashion shows and Christmas markets which are all new ways of using the space and catering to the needs of a wide variety of people.
Many events are held in external areas of the museum where the view from the terrace overlooking the Gulf of Naples, the amphitheatre and the botanical gardens provide a wonderful natural backdrop.
The convention area which is at the heart of the convention center and the exhibition rooms are steeped in atmosphere. The fascinating architecture of the old workshops combined with the more modern technological offerings make this a perfect place to hold topnotch corporate and institutional events.
In the ancient Pavilions of the museum, historical locomotives and carriages become the scenography for the numerous collateral events that fill the calendar of the site.
The Museum promotes cultural activities with institutions and associations: special evening openings, theatre-visits, workshops and game-visits for families and children during the weekend, didactic activities, cultural theatre and music festivals, and fairs.